You know my story. Now it’s time to take care of you.
I regularly hear stories from so many of you that mention struggling to afford mental health care at one point or another. This breaks my heart. I feel for you. It seems asinine that something so important is treated as a “luxury” to be able to afford.
While it seems like society’s view on that is changing (to me anyway, thankfully), in the meantime, we’ve got to know where we can get immediate cost-friendly care when we need it.
To begin, I think it’s important to know exactly what these services provide. That starts with knowing the difference between a counselor, therapist, and psychologist. The APA explains that a counselor, “[…] addresses the emotional, social, work, school and physical health concerns people may have at different stages in their lives, focusing on typical life stresses and more severe issues with which people may struggle as individuals and as a part of families, groups and organizations. Counseling psychologists help people with physical, emotional and mental health issues improve their sense of well‐being, alleviate feelings of distress and resolve crises. They also provide assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of more severe psychological symptoms.”
The APA also says that a therapist and therapy can, ” […] help people of all ages live happier, healthier and more productive lives. Psychologists apply research-based techniques to help people develop more effective habits. There are several approaches to psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral, interpersonal and psychodynamic, among others, that help people work through their problems. Psychotherapy is a collaborative treatment based on the relationship between an individual and a psychologist. A psychologist provides a supportive environment that allows you to talk openly with someone who is objective, neutral and nonjudgmental. Most therapy focuses on individuals, although psychotherapists also work with couples, families, and groups.”
While a counselor and therapist can talk with you and help you find relief, they cannot prescribe you medication. A psychologist, or primary care doctor are the ones who can.
Knowing what these terms means can help you identify the services you really need, and which ones are right for you.
Now that we know what each of those terms means (hey, it took me time to learn too!), let’s take a look at what the cost-effective mental health care options that I mentioned are.
- NAMI: It stands for National Alliance On Mental Illness. The cool thing about them is that they offer free support groups nationally. In Minnesota, you can find local support in Rochester here. Support isn’t limited to patients either. You can find support for loved ones there too.
- RCTC: This isn’t open to the public per se, but students at our local community college now have the ability to get mental health attention at this link.
- Zumbo Valley Health Center: They offer a sliding fee scale for residents of Olmsted County.
- Crisis Text Line: It’s all part of your phone plan – you’re just texting them. Find out how to text a counselor immediately here. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is a wonderful resource too! Both connect you with counselors.
I should remind you that I’m not a doctor or licensed therapist, but I can tell you that these resources are available – and affordable. They’re available for you anytime.
Of course, perhaps the best thing you can do for someone in crisis is to just be there. Show them love and support. You can never go wrong with that!
If you are in crisis, do what Lady Gaga said at the Grammys! In her speech she said, “[…] if you see somebody that’s hurting, don’t look away. And if you’re hurting, even though it might be hard, try to find that bravery within yourself to dive deep and go tell somebody and take them up in your head with you.”
That, my friends, is always in vogue.