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Do You Need Mental Healthcare but Don't Have Insurance?

Updated: Aug 13, 2023

Do you need to access a mental health professional but you don't have insurance? This can be a major barrier to receiving the care that you need, and understandably so. Going to a therapist or psychiatrist can be very expensive when you have to self-pay.

At one point, I was receiving therapy without insurance, and my cost was $150 per hour. If you need to go to a psychiatrist, it can be even more expensive, depending on your location. In my area, I was told that the average cost was over $300 per hour. So, I didn't go.

Resources for Mental Health

If you don't have access to health insurance for whatever reasons, there are several options that you can explore to get the mental health assistance that you need.


If you are low income, disabled, or unable to work, you may be able to access mental healthcare through the Medicaid program.

According to Medicaid,

Medicaid is the single largest payer for mental health services in the United States and is increasingly playing a larger role in the reimbursement of substance use disorder services.

It may seem difficult to apply for Medicaid, but you can apply online without having to go into an office, and receive an eligibility decision through your email.

You can go to the Health and Human Services Webpage to find out more information about qualifying for Medicaid, as well as information on how to apply.

If you do want help with the application, or to speak with a Medicaid worker, you can go to your local Human Services office to fill out an application in person.

Employee Assistance Program

If you are working, your workplace may offer an Employee Assistance Program that will provide access to counseling services.

According to SHRM,

An employee assistance program (EAP) is a work-based intervention program designed to assist employees in resolving personal problems that may be adversely affecting the employee's performance. EAPs traditionally have assisted workers with issues like alcohol or substance misuse; however, most now cover a broad range of issues such as child or elder care, relationship challenges, financial or legal problems, wellness matters and traumatic events like workplace violence.

You can check with your Human Resources office to find out if your workplace offers an Employee Assistance Program, and if it covers mental health issues.

When you use counseling through an employee assistance program, the number of sessions that you are eligible for may be limited. However, there will typically be no cost to you for the sessions that you attend.

Sliding Fee Scale

If you are low income or not working, you can also find Community Mental Health Centers which offer services at a sliding fee scale. That means, the amount you pay for services will be determined based on your income. This is designed to make getting care more affordable.

You can look online to find a community mental health center near you, and ask them if they offer a sliding fee scale for patients who don't have health insurance.

Support Groups

In many cities, there are support groups for different types of mental health conditions. You may be able to find a support group either in person or online. You may be able to attend support group meetings at a mental health center, hospital or clinic. You can also find support groups on websites like FaceBook, so that you don't have to leave your home to be able to participate.

Additional Resources

There are other resources available that can help you find mental health services.

According to Help Advisor,

The National Alliance on Mental Illness operates a toll free helpline for people who need to get mental health help with no insurance. You can reach NAMI online at or by phone at 1-800-950-6264. You can also text “NAMI” to 741741 on a smartphone.

If you need immediate assistance, you can also call a crisis line in your local area or walk in to a crisis center or emergency room. An emergency room is required to accept you even if you don't have any health insurance. This way, you can get help right away, as well as referrals to an outpatient provider.

If you are ever contemplating suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by dialing 988.

It may seem like a difficult and daunting task to get mental healthcare when you don't have health insurance to cover the costs. However, there are still many options to find mental healthcare available to you.

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