I’m not an expert authority on navigating the complexities of America’s mental heath care industry. When I first decided that I needed to seek professional help for my anxiety, I had no clue where to turn. Getting professional help was extremely difficult for me because I am both uninsured and unemployed. I didn’t have a regular doctor at the time and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to afford medical care. Every state is unique in the resources that are offered regarding mental health care. Honestly, I’m not sure how helpful my insight with this issue will be to others but I thought that it may be worth sharing my experience just incase.
The first step that I took to get help was to reach out to my local free health care clinic which I found through a quick Google search. Contrary to it’s name, the clinic wasn’t free. However, they did adjust their prices based on the client’s income. After calling the free clinic to set up and appointment, I was disappointed to learn that their earliest available appointment time was 3 months out. I have found that you often have to deal with high client volumes and long wait times when utilizing income based services. Under normal circumstances, I would have been willing to wait for an appointment. However, my anxiety was so bad at this point that I knew I couldn’t wait 3 months to receive treatment. I asked the receptionist if he could refer me to an affordable doctor that could possibly see me sooner. Thankfully, he was able to put me in touch with a doctor from the local hospital who was willing to fit me in for an appointment the following week. The down side to all of this was, the doctor that they set me up with did not initially offer income based prices. My mother ended up helping me pay for my first doctors visit. My doctor worked out of the local hospital and told me that the hospital offered a service to help low income patients to pay their medical bills. I have applied to receive this service to help me pay for future appointments. Additionally, my doctor told me that the hospital also offered 6 free 30 minute counseling sessions to help mental health patients to develop coping skills. Personally, I was interested in additional forms of counseling. I searched on Google for free and income based counseling near me and came up with several potential group and individual options that I am currently exploring.
If you are uninsured in America, you may try searching for a free clinic in your area. You may also want to check with your local hospital, as they may offer payment assistance for mental health patients. It may take some time to find affordable treatment, but Google can be a helpful resource.
If you are having a hard time finding affordable mental health care in your area, try calling the SAMHSA national helpline. This helpline was able to put me in touch with several free and income based mental health treatment centers in my area. 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Though I am still learning how to navigate the labyrinth that is the American health care system, I hope that reading about my limited experiences with it will help to make things a little less confusing for someone else. If you know of any other free or income based mental health resources, please share them in the comment section.
Love Always, AnxiouslyM