Let’s be honest: Finding healing and relief for our mental health struggles can be an expensive experience. While our health insurance should cover mental health disorders and illnesses, the other parts of it, like changing our diet, working out more, medication, and others—can cost a lot of money. To say otherwise is to ignore the realities and lived experiences of the economically disadvantaged among us.

peacefulIf you are struggling with your mental health, there are ways to improve it without costing you an arm and a leg. Here are some ways you can start.

File for disability claims

If you have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, you are qualified to file for disability claims. If you don’t know where to begin, consider consulting with a disability attorney to help you navigate this unknown, sometimes frustrating, territory. The best part is that some disability lawyers charge no fee upfront and will only do so once your claim has been approved. If you want to know more about your rights under the law, this is a good place to start, especially if you are not in the right headspace to do it yourself.

To qualify for these claims, you have to prove that your mental health struggles have hindered your capacity to maintain a job, and a lawyer can help advocate for you in this area.

Consider going to group therapy

You may be surprised to know that group therapy is often more affordable than one-on-one sessions. If you currently have a counselor or therapist, ask them if they can offer group therapy sessions or if they know anyone that offers them. The American Group Psychotherapy Association locator may be an excellent resource for this.

Visit your community health center

Your local health center may have their hands full at this time during COVID-19, but it doesn’t mean your mental health doesn’t deserve just as much of their attention, and they know this too. Many of these state agencies provide affordable consultations and in-patient and outpatient services. They may charge a fee, but you can be sure it is still cheaper than a private hospital. The Mental Health Locator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) can also be a valuable resource for this particular need.

Check out a nearby university or college

Suppose your local university or alma mater offers graduate training programs in social work, psychology, counseling, psychiatry, and other related fields. In that case, you might be able to find a mental health provider that offers services for reduced fees. This is because many of their students need practical experience and a minimum number of hours before they can graduate or get their license. At the same time, you can be sure that you would be gaining help from an apprentice under the direct supervision of a faculty member licensed to practice therapy or counseling.

Don’t hesitate to ask about sliding fees

Many mental health practitioners go into this field because empathy and compassion come naturally to them, so don’t be shy to ask if they can offer a sliding fee structure of some sort—fees that are ultimately determined by your current level of income. If you already have a therapist that you work well with, don’t hesitate to share your financial concerns with them and ask if they are ways you can work out a payment plan while you’re navigating this challenging chapter of your financial life.

Do some self-care practices that don’t require you to spend

Contrary to popular belief, proper self-care doesn’t just mean going shopping, pampering yourself at a spa, or going on a luxurious getaway. Proper self-care often doesn’t require spending a lot of money. Here are some ways genuine self-care can manifest in your life:

  • Permanently cutting off toxic and abusive people in your life—ones that make you feel terrible about yourself or influence you to go down dark paths.
  • Quitting harmful habits like drinking, smoking, and doing drugs. This is easier said than done, but with the help of people who love you and mental health professionals, it’s not impossible.

You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to take steps towards your healing. If one of your new year’s resolutions for 2022 is to gain a semblance of normalcy and peace in your mind and heart, consider these steps, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. You are worthy of help and healing, and you don’t need to have a large income to deserve it.