Seven Ways to Find Mental Health Financial Assistance

| 7 min read Financial Assistance

Mental illness is a widespread issue that affects nearly one in five US adults each year, or nearly 50 million individuals. Sadly, less than half of people in need ever receive mental health care. And even more tragically, less than 0.05% of the government’s total health expenditure goes toward mental health services annually, according to the World Health Organization. If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health issues, know that there are many resources that provide mental health financial assistance—so you can get back to the life of wellbeing you deserve. 

Start a fundraiser

The true cost of mental illness

Mental illness manifests itself in several ways, and it doesn’t have to be completely debilitating to become a problem. When mental health issues begin to affect your ability to function and cause you recurring stress, it may be time to seek help. 

  • By the year 2030, companies globally are expected to lose a total of $16 trillion due to lost productivity resulting from mental health disorders.
  • Even with insurance, a staggering number of Americans—50% of those suffering from any mental illness, ranging from mild to severe—say that they cannot afford treatment.
  • The cost of depression among those with major depressive disorder—about 7% of US adults working full time—is estimated to be around $210.5 billion every year.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of US deaths each year. An astonishing 90% of those who died by suicide had shown signs of a mental health condition.

Financial assistance for mental health treatment

Positive mental health and wellbeing not only feels good, but helps you cope with everyday stresses, work more productively, and contribute more to your community and personal relationships. For most—even for those with health insurance—struggling with a mental health issue can mean high out of pocket medical expenses. Fortunately, there are several ways you can get financial assistance for mental health treatment.

1. Government assistance for mental health 

In the US, there are some government benefit options for those who need help accessing mental health services. Keep in mind that government assistance for mental health treatment does come with certain eligibility requirements, typically related to income. 

  • Community health centers deliver primary care services to underserved locations. Mental health care is provided via a sliding fee scale, depending on your ability to pay.
  • Mental health treatment is offered through Medicaid, which covers mandatory eligibility groups such as low-income families, qualified pregnant women and children, and disabled individuals, among others.
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helps people find treatment by providing access to treatment facilities, crisis counseling centers, support lifelines, and information helplines.
  • MentalHealth.gov offers plenty of resources for people struggling with mental illness, including how to support a loved one who is dealing with a mental health issue. The site also provides guidance for participating in clinical trials.

2. Nonprofits that offer mental health resources

In addition to government aid, several nonprofits also provide financial assistance for mental health services. 

  • The American Psychoanalytic Association provides a number of low-fee clinics that offer mental health services for people with limited financial means. 
  • A nationwide peer-support service, NAMI Helpline, offers resources for people dealing with a range of mental health disorders, including support for their caregivers and families.
  • Mental Health America will help you find support groups near you that are specific to your situation, in addition to connecting you with online support communities.

3. Online fundraising for mental health

Financial assistance for mental health patients is easily accessible through mental health fundraisers. Starting a fundraiser is easy to set up—and with crowdfunding, there are no applications, eligibility requirements, or waiting periods to receive funds. 

  • Get started with a comprehensive medical crowdfunding guide that helps you create a compelling fundraiser from start to finish. 
  • Raise money quickly with these excellent fundraising tips, so you can find the financial support that you need, when you need it.
  • If you’re looking to use the power of social sharing to increase donations, these 25 tips will help you spread the word about your fundraiser to more potential donors.

4. Sliding-scale therapists

Resolving to see a medical professional for your mental health concerns may be one of the most important decisions you will ever make. The one thing that stops many from doing so is the worry that they cannot afford treatment. But there are many counselors available who provide mental health financial assistance through a sliding scale-based payment system.

  • Open Path Psychotherapy Collective partners with private mental health clinicians in all 50 states, to help individuals and families in need access affordable therapy services. 
  • NeedyMeds keeps an updated database of sliding-scale, low-cost, and clinics for those underinsured, or without health insurance. 
  • Psychology Today maintains a directory of licensed psychiatrists, therapists, and treatment facilities throughout the US, many of which offer a sliding-scale payment option.
  • Good Therapy is another resource to find the right mental health professional near you, allowing you to search for a therapist by location as well as the primary mental health issue they treat. 

5. University mental health services

The demands of college are often stressful, which—if left unchecked—can lead to mental health challenges. Fortunately, the majority of college campuses offer low-cost mental health services to students, in addition to the organizations below.

  • Half of Us helps college students access counseling services that are close to campus. They also provide a text chat if you need someone to talk to, as well as a toll-free crisis helpline.
  • ULifeline offers campus-specific information and resources for people struggling with mental health challenges. It also offers a mental health hotline. 

6. or low-cost online therapy

Quite a few online sites offer or low-cost programs and helplines to help people struggling with mental health issues.

  • An eight-session interactive therapy program, offered by the Centre for Interactive Mental Health Solutions, can help treat depression. The program is based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and is completely free, confidential, and accessible from anywhere.
  • Talkspace offers private chat therapy sessions that you can access through your phone, laptop, or tablet. Plans start at $65/ per week, which includes unlimited messages with your therapist.
  • Powered by thousands of trained volunteer listeners, 7 Cups offers a emotional support system through a 24/7 chat program. It also provides affordable online counseling at $150 per month.
  • BetterHelp provides counseling services with unlimited access to your counselor, with plans starting at $40 per week. Counseling is offered through messaging, live chat, phone, and video conference.
  • A customized CBT program through iPrevail includes behavioral tools, interactive tools, and progress charts, and can help treat anxiety. The basic program is free, with paid packages starting at $6.66 per month.
  • BlahTherapy connects people from around the world who are going through similar struggles, with the idea that sometimes it is easier to talk to a stranger. This service is free, and they also offer low-cost online sessions with licensed therapists.

7. Try a smartphone app

Although not advised for severe mental illness, smartphone apps can be a great way to get support and encouragement when you’re going through a tough time. Some of the apps listed below also offer interactive training and guided meditation. 

  • We Are More is geared toward patients with chronic health conditions. The platform offers inspirational content, and helps equip individuals with the skills they need to cope with life’s ups and downs. 
  • Moodpath App is designed for those struggling with anxiety and depression. The app helps you track your mood, and offers personalized insights into how different life situations can trigger certain emotions. 
  • Calm offers more than 100 meditation sessions to help you regain control of your thoughts, reduce anxiety, and lower your stress levels.
  • Happify combines positive psychology and mindfulness in an interactive platform to help you take control of your emotional health, and form new patterns and habits that contribute to your wellbeing. 

You deserve to take care of your mental health

We all deserve to live a life full of happiness and wellbeing, and finances should never stand in the way of getting the mental health treatment you need. Through medical fundraising, the funds you need to take care of your mental health are quickly and easily within reach. Plus, with GoFundMe’s 0% platform fee for organizers, you get to keep more of the money you raise.  Sign up today and start your own fundraiser, so you can get back to living a life you truly enjoy.

Start a mental health fundraiser