Image via Shutterstock
Image via Shutterstock

Michigan mom and mental health expert Erica Carulli offers suggestions for finding care at a reduced cost. 

As most Michigan families know, living in a pandemic has taken a toll. Beyond forcing families to navigate day-to-day efforts of trying to stay safe and healthy, COVID has had a negative impact on mental health and accessing services for mental health treatment. 

In February 2021, nearly 40% of Michigan adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, and 27% were unable to get needed counseling or therapy, according to the National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI)

Michiganders are a resilient community of people, though. We tend to find ways to get the job done when needed. Thinking about how hard it must be to not be able to find or get the mental health support someone needs when they need it, I wanted to share some ideas with you. 

READ MORE: 4 Questions You Should Ask Your Kids in 2022 to Understand Their Mental Health 

While there are many ways to find a mental healthcare provider, here are a few ways you can try to find support. 

  1. State Insurance: Through state insurance, sometimes referred to as a community plan or Medicaid, consumers may qualify for mental health services free of charge. Contact the number on the back of your insurance card for more information.
  1. Private Insurance: Commercial insurance, most often purchased by your employer and provided as a benefit of employment, may offer Behavioral Health benefits. Like medical insurance, Behavioral Health benefits can be part of your insurance plan. This means you can see a therapist in network with your insurance for sometimes just the cost of a co-pay. Contact the number on the back of your card for more information. 
  1. Private Practice Group Sessions and Low-Cost/Reduced Fees: Often, private practice therapists offer low-cost or reduced-fee services to clients experiencing financial hardships. This may be therapist-specific so it’s best to ask each therapist if they have these spots available. Sometimes, private practice therapists even offer low or free support groups.
  1. College and University Mental Health Centers: Universities or community colleges in your area may offer low-cost or free counseling services to the community. In order to determine if this is available in your area, contact the college or university nearest you and inquire. 
  1. Non-Profit Organizations: Many non-profit organizations exist to provide community services free of charge. Depending on what specific issues you may be experiencing, there could be a non-profit agency or organization in your area providing pro-bono services. Open-Path Psychotherapy Collective is an example of a non-profit network of mental health professionals providing mental health care at a very reduced rate to clients in need. 

Because of the global and nationwide struggles, this is such a stressful time for a lot of people. Times like these can bring about even more stress and worry, especially when it comes to finding resources to support your mental health. Having ways like these may make this process just a bit easier for some. That’s my hope, anyway.

Now is the time to make sure you are taking care of yourself, which includes your mental health. While it is challenging to take the first step, it is a much needed part of your overall well being. Remember, mental health is health.