Money Can Prevent People From Getting Help

By Sarah Fader, CEO, Stigma Fighters

In the United States, it can be difficult to find help for your mental health issues unless you are wealthy. Poor people who don’t have access to private insurance have a hard time finding therapists or psychiatrists because most competent clinicians only take private insurance. It’s even more complicated than that, middle-class people who have insurance have a hard time finding therapists that they can afford because the insurance deductibles are so high. Who can actually get help? It’s becoming increasingly ridiculous to be able to sit down and talk to someone. I was talking with my therapist yesterday about how overrun the psych wards here are in Portland. She said that it’s incredibly hard to get people admitted who actually need help and are actively suicidal. This is awful, and something needs to change. People who are having mental health crises are entitled to services. Having a mental illness and not having money is like a death sentence in the U.S. And it should not be that way.

If you have Medicaid or state insurance you are entitled to see therapists at local clinics or people that accept state insurance. However, the waitlist to these places can be months long. The services provided could be great, if you can wait long enough to see someone. This is ludicrous and it needs to be rectified so that people can actually be mentally healthy. I’m not even going to touch the idea of physical health in this country because that’s another story altogether.

So, what’s the solution? We need to rally together and express to the government how important mental health is. We need to be loud and say what we need. We need better mental health care, we need more therapists who accept insurance, we need the insurance companies to actually have reasonable co-payments and lower deductibles. These are things that would help people actually get the help they need and stay alive. I’m not kidding. These changes would prevent people from dying by suicide. If we don’t say anything, these problems will continue, and people will get sicker and sicker. Even if you don’t have a mental illness, you know someone who does, in fact, one in four Americans lives with a mental illness, so it’s either you or someone you’re sitting next to at the movies.

Let’s band together and show our government how important mental health care is to us. We need people to live fulfilling lives no matter what their “diagnosis” is.

Living with mental illness is a challenge, but we are entitled to therapy and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Read this article from about free and/or affordable ways to get therapy. You can also check out Psychology Today where some of the therapists will do sliding scale payments. There are options to get help for those of us living with mental illness, but that doesn’t mean we should stay silent. We need to speak up about how hard it is to get services in this country.