MENTAL HEALTH HELP: How to find affordable therapy

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DENVER (KDVR) – Mental health resources remain in high demand even as the country moves away from the COVID-19 pandemic and becomes endemic.

Dr. Liz Chamberlain, a licensed psychologist with CU Anschutz Health and Wellness, is one of many people forced to put patients on a waiting list.

“The numbers are so telling that people continue to need mental health help and continue to seek it. There’s so much loss that people have had from normal events, and life is hard to navigate anyway,” Chamberlain said.

Finding an open appointment can take time. Chamberlain says people may need to be persistent right now.

“When you’re not feeling well, perseverance is difficult. Ask a family member or friend to make calls for you if you need help,” Chamberlain said.

How to find an open appointment

call around

Calling one or two mental health providers may not be enough to book an appointment. Chamberlain says people need to be persistent right now.

“Ask a family member or friend to make calls for you if you need help,” Chamberlain said.

Join unlists

If a supplier you are interested in is booked, join both the waiting list and the cancellation list. Chamberlain says asking to be on the cancellation list could get you in sooner than just getting on the waitlist.

Find virtual dates

Virtual dates have remained common post-pandemic. Chamberlain says they provide greater flexibility for patients to look outside of their immediate area. Providers have also been able to take on more patients through virtual appointments.

Ask your doctor

Chamberlain says more primary care offices now include on-site behavioral health providers. Asking your doctor for help could lead to immediate care, at least for a short appointment.

What if I can’t pay for the care?

Finding mental health providers who accept health insurance is difficult. Chamberlain says those with longer waiting lists, but there are affordable and even free options.

Colorado Crisis Services

Colorado Crisis Services provides immediate and free care by phone or SMS. Chamberlain says you don’t have to be in crisis to use their services. Anyone looking for mental health help can apply for help.

Decreasing suppliers

A Google search for “scaling therapy providers” can yield dozens of results for practices offering services at a more affordable price.

Consider seeing a student

Chamberlain says doctoral students may be a more affordable option when seeking mental health help.

“These people are really well trained. You receive the care of an intern plus someone supervising their work. It’s a good option if you don’t qualify for Medicaid or Medicare, or just can’t afford the exorbitant rate that many people charge,” Chamberlain said.

Check with your employer

Some employers may offer an employee assistance program. An EAP provides short-term counseling, referrals, and aftercare services.

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