It’s a sad fact that many people in the United States don’t have regular and reliable access to reasonably priced, effective mental health care. Every year that passes, we continue to chip away at the stigma that surrounds mental illness, but to totally get rid of the shame, we need to at least make sure everyone is financially able to visit a mental health care professional without breaking the bank.

While getting mental health care shouldn’t be stigmatized, unfortunately, it’s also often not given priority in the average person’s life. A diagnosis and treatment for a mental illness could be the difference between happiness and perpetual sadness, and in the most extreme cases, it could mean life or death. Putting mental health near the top of your priority list means you’ll be able to better equip yourself with tools to deal with hardships that arise and will get diagnosed if there are underlying mental health concerns.

The good news is that there are thousands of people and organizations in the United States who recognize this is a service that is lacking in our society. Being uninsured or underinsured could mean that you can’t see a leading therapist in your community, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have access to a trained professional who can help you. If you’re struggling with mental illness, you can follow these tips in order to gain access to mental health care.

Call a hotline

Even if you’re not in a crisis situation right now, it’s necessary to know where to turn if an emergency situation arises. If you need someone to turn to immediately, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or dial 911 if the situation calls for it. The trained professionals at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will be able to respond quickly to your concerns and get you in touch with care swiftly.

Find inexpensive sessions

Those of us who want to try therapy sessions but don’t have it in their budget or insurance plan can reach out to the Open Path Psychotherapy Collective. This organization works with thousands of practicing and licensed therapists around the country who are willing to provide deeply discounted rates for their services to Open Oath Psychotherapy Collective members. The online platform allows visitors to the site to search for and find a therapist near them to search in their area. Users can look at their profiles, read any reviews, and ultimately set an appointment and get started on their journey to wellness.

Apply for Medical Assistance benefits

You always have the option to apply for Medical Assistance benefits that are offered by your state. Medical Assistance provides healthcare either at a low cost or free, based on your income, age, and other factors. Check with your state’s Medicaid Office to learn how to apply in your area. 

If you’re uninsured or your health insurance doesn’t cover mental healthcare, it’s good to know there are options. Depending on your location, there may be free clinics or other options for you. Make sure to call 211 in your area to learn more about what services you can take advantage of.