As folks live longer and the stigma of seeking therapy diminishes, more seasoned adults are trying it to alleviate the stress of the issues they are battling in their everday lives. Many seniors, however, are living on budgets, or from paycheck-to-paycheck so therapy, unfortunately, is not an option. If you need to talk to a therapist but don’t quite have the coins, consider these free or very affordable mental health care professional services.
Try a training clinic–Believe it or not practitioners need to practice on folks before they get credentialed. Training clinics are typically located within or near a college or university. Grad students who are supervised by licensed psychologists are available to counsel you on your particular issues. The clinics usually have a sliding scale but if your pockets are empty, then your scale will wind up sliding to zero dollars! Search for a training clinic near you, contact Association of Psychology Training Clinics.
How about a support group?–Sharing your burden with others who are in your shoes might not be so bad afterall. As part of a support group, you can connect with others to receive advice and emotional comfort. It is often soothing to know that we are not alone in our struggles. There are a number of organizations that offer free or very low cost therapy for the following issues:
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
National Resource Center on LGBT Aging
Talk to a therapist online–Teladoc is an app where you can meet with a telemedicine doctor (for physical or mental health) online for a nominal fee; these healthcare professionals can diagnose, recommend treatment and prescribe meds if needed. Talkspace offers plans starting at $49 a week with 24/7 access through texting, voice or video calls with a licensed therapist. BetterHelp plans start at $40 a week with 24/7 access for texting, live chatting, or via phone with a licensed mental health professional; they also offer marriage, couples and Christian counseling. 7 Cups of Tea offers free anonymous online chatting with “trained listeners” who don’t necessarily have a degree or license in mental health or social work.
Consider an association website–If you know what it is you are struggling with, then an association website is right at your fingertips and can help you find a remedy to your problem. For example, if you are dealing with anxiety, contact the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies or the International OCD Foundation.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount!–You can ask your physician for a discount. Be upfront and let your health provider know that your pockets are tight and you simply cannot afford to pay what they’re asking for services. You can also request to be placed on a payment plan. There is no law against negotiating for a cheaper medical bill rate!
Talk to your religious or spiritual leader–If you belong to a church, your religious or spiritual leader will probably be more than happy to counsel you for free on an issue that is making you lose sleep. There might even be a support group for your issue at your place of worship where you can connect and bond with fellow church members.