What to Do When You Can’t Afford Therapy

MorrowKimberly Morrow, LCSW

Practical advice for obtaining quality mental healthcare when money is tight

Thanks to mental health parity, many more people have access to psychotherapy than in the past. But two great barriers to treatment remain. The first is shame, as the stigma of mental illness still prevents many from seeking professional help. The second is cost, because even when people have health insurance, the expense of co-pays and high deductibles can be too much when money is tight.

For some people, the predicament of needing mental health treatment, but not being able to afford it is doubly shameful, and so they never seek the care they need.

But I’m here to tell you there are ways to obtain high-quality therapy for little or no cost, and people should never let shame get in the way of wellness. Here are some tips for talking to mental health providers about cost concerns, as well as suggestions for ways you can get free or discounted care.

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The Clock Is Ticking on the 7 Million Uninsured with Behavioral Health Conditions

Ron ManderscheidRon Manderscheid, PhD
Executive Director
National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors

Now is the time to help the 7 million uninsured Americans with behavioral health conditions understand their health coverage.

In a recent post, Hannah Sentenac discussed the challenges young adults face accessing mental healthcare. Because many Millennials are choosing job flexibility and self-employment over traditional employment, they are faced with the costly prospect of purchasing their own health insurance; and many have simply chosen to go without. Even for Millennials who have insurance (either employer-sponsored or self-purchased), high co-pays and hefty out-of-network charges have prevented many from obtaining mental health treatment, she states.


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Are Millennials Receiving Adequate Mental Health Coverage?

hannah-happy-2By: Hannah Sentenac

How hard is it to find the right health insurance, one that covers all of your medical and mental health needs and is affordable? It’s difficult for all of us, but more challenging for some. Now is the open enrollment period for many employer-sponsored health insurance plans, the ACA, and Medicare. Over the next several weeks CFYM will look at a variety of challenges facing different populations, beginning with today’s post on the generation of Millennials. .

Millennials are a lot of things: large in number, highly nontraditional, devotees of the almighty Google. A massive generation, we encompass everyone born between 1980 and 1999, which totals 80 Million+ Americans.

Unfortunately, we’re also a generation suffering from a lot of mental health woes.

Studies show Millennials tend to suffer from higher stress levels and mental health concerns than other generations. A 2013 study by the American Psychological Association and Harris Interactive found that more Millennials have been diagnosed with depression and anxiety than any other living generation, and that we’re more stressed than any other living generation.

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The Time to Act Is Now; Help Create a Global Movement for Mental Health

Kathryn GoetzkeBy Kathryn Goetzke

Psychosocial disability is one of the more pressing development issues of our time, yet for too long it’s been a low priority.

Consider:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that one in four people will experience an episode of mental illness in their lifetime, and approximately 600 million people worldwide are disabled as a result
  • Mental and behavioral disorders account for 7.4% of the global burden of disease measured using Daily Adjusted Life Years (DALYs)
  • Men and women in high income countries living with a mental health condition die 15 to 20 years earlier than those who do not
  • Individuals with psychosocial disabilities in low and middle income countries are more vulnerable to poverty, hunger, conflict, trauma, and poor access to health and social care
  • People living with psychosocial disability experience severe human rights violations including being
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Despite VA Benefits and Disability Coverage, Jennifer Struggles to Get the Care She Needs

jennifer for cfymAlthough Jennifer remembers “just not feeling right” in high school and telling a teacher that she wanted to die, she wasn’t diagnosed with major depression until she was nearly 30. An unrelated medical disability required her release from the Navy, and a car accident shortly thereafter further complicated Jennifer’s physical health and depression. In constant pain, she often wondered if her life would ever get better. At a couple of dark points, the possibility of taking her life became a concern. Jennifer sought emergency help at the VA and was hospitalized in the psychiatric ward.

“I was the only female up there,” Jennifer recalls. She describes the situation as “scary” for a woman, grouped with men whose issues run the gamut from alcohol abuse to serious mental illness. For those in the VA hospital’s psychiatric ward, she says, “They don’t have separate treatment.”

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Coaching Into Care—VA Mental Health Coaching Service for Family and Friends of Veterans

steven_johnBy Steven Sayers, Ph.D. and John DeVincent, Psy.D.

This Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving Day, Coaching Into Care (CIC) would like to recognize that our country’s Service Members and Veterans have given much to our country. Their families have also served and sacrificed by supporting them, caring for family when they were deployed, and helping them start new lives when they leave active duty. We are grateful for their courage and strength.

Recognizing the role of the family
Family members play an important role in supporting Veterans when they are in need of help, and the Department of Veterans Affairs has resources to assist them through an innovative program called Coaching Into Care (CIC). Celebrating its third year, this free and confidential VA helpline helps callers discover new ways to talk with a Veteran about their concerns and treatment options. The program’s mission is to educate, support, and empower family members and friends who are seeking care or services for a Veteran, with an end goal of encouraging distressed Veterans to successfully access VA care anywhere in the United States.

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Coaching Into Care: VA Coaches Help Supporters of Veterans Make the Tough Decision to Get Help

WalserAmber Walser, Psy.D.

According to The Department of Veterans Affairs, nearly 30 percent of Veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11 who have been treated at V.A. hospitals and clinics have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Read about an innovative VA program that assists loved ones and friends who want to learn how to better support the Veteran in their life and encourage him or her to seek professional support.

Providing tools to support veterans
Judy, the girlfriend of an Army Veteran, called Coaching Into Care (CIC) with concerns about the combat stress and alcohol misuse her boyfriend was experiencing and the toll it was taking on their relationship. Her boyfriend would acknowledge the need for treatment but wouldn’t follow through, and they were quickly growing apart. A CIC call responder provided support and education about combat stress and encouraged Judy to take things slowly rather than to fix everything right away. Then, the call responder prepared Judy for the coaching process, which would connect Judy with a psychologist or social worker with whom she would speak over the phone during the coming weeks or months.

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The Pro’s and Con’s of High Deductible Health Insurance Plans

docAre you familiar with the term “high deductible health insurance plan” (HDHP)? This type of coverage saves you money on monthly health insurance premiums in exchange for higher deductibles—the annual upfront amount of covered health expenses you must self-pay (out-of-pocket) before your plan pays for medical expenses. Read today’s post to better understand if these plans are right for you.

Autumn brings a change in the weather, the onset of fall colors, and for many, it signals the annual rite of choosing a health insurance plan for 2015. Employers are increasingly offering HDHPs to their employees. In fact, according to a National Business Group on Health survey, of the 136 large companies studied, almost 33% offer HDHPs to their employees. These plans are also available from the health insurance marketplace for individuals and families who do not receive their health insurance through employers.

Before deciding on whether or not this plan is right for you and your family, it is wise to evaluate your own and your family member’s mental health care needs.

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Can Medicaid Managed Care Programs Deliver on the Promise to Improve Outcomes?

Couple_sitting_at_a_tableHeather O’Donnell
Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy, Thresholds

Autumn ushers in a time to evaluate your current health insurance plans. Over the next few weeks, CFYM will provide information on Medicaid, employee-sponsored plans, and ACA marketplace plans. In today’s post, Heather O’Donnell provides guidance about moving to a Medicaid managed care plan.

As the Affordable Care Act is implemented across the country, Illinois, like most states, is making changes to its Medicaid program. As the largest insurer of Illini living with a mental health condition, this program has a responsibility to

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Medicare Part D Users are Feeling the Squeeze

medsIf concerns about being able to retain access to the correct medications to treat their mood disorders was not enough, individuals utilizing Medicare Part D must also be concerned about whether or not they can even afford to take their prescribed medications.

When Medicare Part D took effect in 2006, it arrived with mixed reviews. Today, according to a survey conducted by Medicare Today, 86% of seniors say they are satisfied with their prescription drug plan. One reason they site for the satisfaction is that the costs are reasonable. Given the way things are trending however, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) may see satisfaction dip.

Cost related non-adherence to medication protocols is growing. The inability to pay for costly medicines causes patients to stretch out their prescriptions by skipping or taking smaller doses than prescribed. In in a recent Health Affairs study, (Medication Affordability Gains Following Medicare Part D Are Eroding Among Elderly with Multiple Chronic Conditions) seniors experiencing four or more chronic conditions reported a cost-related non-adherence rise from a low of 14.4% in 2009 to 17% in 2011.

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