One of the most difficult things about depression treatment is the cost. It isn’t any more expensive than medical treatment, but it usually isn’t automatically covered by insurance, you have to wait a period to get reimbursed, and it is generally not a quick fix. It makes it more important than ever to ensure you are getting the right treatment, at the right time, from the right professional.

What many people don’t realize is that if they do not treat their brain, everything else costs more in the long run anyway. You are doing yourself a disservice by ignoring your mental health. Depressed people miss more days of work, have a reduced ability to solve problems, and are more likely to develop other kinds of illnesses. So keeping the brain in shape should be a top priority.

Again, financial times are hard and many people are having problems just putting food on the table. Lack of money does not mean you can’t improve your brain functioning, it just means you may have to be more creative in finding treatment. So here are some tips for getting help when your budget is small:

  • If you are on medication, find the manufacturer of your medication (listed on bottle), look them up online (or at the library if you don’t have a computer), and call them to see if they have prescription assistance programs. If you meet their income guidelines, they should be able to pay for some or all of your medication.
  • Ask your doctor if a generic form of your medication exists and if it would be all right for you to take. Target and Walmart are just a few of the pharmacies that offer generic medications for as little as $4.
  • Research and interview your doctors before deciding on one for treatment. Look them up on Psych Central’s Good Therapy therapist directory or Psychology Today, get opinions from others online, and don’t necessarily hire the first one you meet. Think about what type of people you feel most comfortable around (male vs. female, etc.) and make sure you are with someone you feel safe around.
  • Join an online group such as those at Psych Central (membership required, but signup is free) or to talk to other people about how they are feeling, what they are doing to positively help themselves, gripe about life, and share stories of hope. Being in a welcoming community can have a great effect on your wellbeing.
  • Spend time preparing for therapy, as you would a class or exam. Request work outside of sessions, journal, and really focus on what you want to get out of your sessions. Many people think therapy is the only work they have to do, but really to get the most out of it you should not limit working on yourself to just an hour a week with a therapist or doctor.
  • Be completely honest with your therapist. So many people go to therapy yet still don’t want to seem ‘that bad,’ so they leave out important points, change details, or try to sugarcoat how they feel. Know that your therapist is under confidentiality rules, and that they are there to help you. They can’t do that unless you tell them what is really going on. So don’t waste your time and money by hiding in therapy.
  • Lastly, find ways to release your stress in a positive way, through journaling, art, walking, meditating, singing, praying, loving, napping, or practicing how to laugh. These are ALL free. The things we do to escape stress, such as cigarettes, drinking, eating, and spending all cost us money, oftentimes a lot. So make sure you focus on the free tools that actually help make you feel better as opposed to the negative ones that just make you feel worse

When we don’t have jobs and the economy is not strong it is easier to become depressed. Everything seems hopeless because we can’t afford anything and get continuous rejections after applying to jobs. That is why it is all the more important to value the time as a way to make your mind stronger through getting rid of bad habits, and learning how to deal with the stress in a positive way. We can all get treatment at any time if we make it a priority.