How to Care for Your Mental Health on a Budget
This blog post is part of the Suicide Prevention Awareness Month blog tour in partnership with Debt Drop. If you are feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741.
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This issue is still shrouded in stigma, which only makes people feel more alone. It’s a vicious cycle. Mental health is a hard thing to prioritize in general, but it gets even harder if you’re tight on money. Plus, financial problems can cause even more mental health issues. So here are some budget-friendly options if you’re feeling hopeless.
Ask for help
First of all, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting 6.7% (or more than 16 million) of American adults each year. We tend to keep quiet about these issues, but I guarantee there are other people in your life who have been through the same thing as you have. Who in your life can you trust? Who do you feel comfortable confiding in? I know that when I was depressed, I saw the light at the end of the tunnel when I began to open up about it and hear other people’s stories of healing.
If you don’t feel comfortable confiding in someone you know about your depression or suicidal thoughts, you can reach out to someone else. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Join a support group
There are so many support groups out there. There is one for every issue you can imagine. There are in-person options, but there are also online opportunities, if that is preferable to you. Like I said above, you are not alone! And honestly, truly knowing you’re not alone does wonders. You are not broken, you are not abnormal. There are many people who are struggling with the same things as you, and it will help to be part of a community that will support you.
Use a therapy/support app
Technology can truly be a wonderful thing. There are many apps out there that make it easier for us to access mental health professionals. Since it can be so hard and time consuming to find a good therapist, this is a great alternative.
Code Blue is an app that will alert your support network when you’re in need. Specifically designed for teens, this app lets your family or friends know in real time when you’re being bullied or feeling depressed or suicidal.
PTSD Coach is an app that was developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs to help veterans deal with PTSD symptoms. The app is also available to civilians, and it connects you to resources and support in your area.
Talkspace is probably the most well-known therapy app. It connects you with a licensed therapist via chat. You do have to pay for this therapist, but it could be a great option if you don’t have health insurance that covers therapy. You can add video therapy for an additional cost.
For more apps, check out this list, which includes ratings on ease of use and effectiveness.
Find out what your insurance covers
Mental health coverage in the U.S. is woefully inadequate. Many of us are not receiving the help and treatment that we need and deserve. However, many insurance plans do cover some sort of mental health treatment. For example, in-network therapists are covered under my insurance. I do have to pay a $30 co-pay for each visit, but that’s preferable to the $150 fee the therapists charge without insurance.
So if you have health insurance, call your provider and get details about your coverage. What options do you have under your plan? Are therapy sessions covered? Is medication covered? Knowing this will make a world of difference when it comes to your mental health.