We often receive questions about access to mental health care when you don’t have insurance on this site as well as other mental health sites on HealthCentral.com. While I usually refer our members to a network of free clinics as well as the Partnership for Prescription Assistance for help with paying for medications, I don’t believe this goes far enough anymore.
The other night, as I was flipping through channels, I stopped and watched an interview with the director of a free clinic network. Just as many of you are feeling the effects of a stressful economy, so are the free clinics. Donations are down, volunteers are down and there are times they must turn away individuals who need health care. For those of you without health insurance, without prescription insurance and wondering how you are going to pay for mental health care, I have compiled a list of resources to help.
Free Clinic Networks and Directories
Because some clinics don’t have enough resources right now to see everyone that needs help, you may need to try several different clinics or directories to find one to fit your needs or that has a clinic that is currently seeing new patients.
Community Mental Health Centers
Your county probably has a community mental health center that can refer you to area resources for mental health, with or without insurance. Call your local county offices for the phone number of your community mental health center. You can also search on the internet for county health services and your county.
Where to Find Care.com - provides a directory of community mental health centers.
Although these organizations do not normally offer mental health services, they may be able to provide you with resources in your area.
Organizations Providing Medical Payments Assistance
Some organizations offer financial assistance to those who are unable to pay their medical bills. Check with your local hospital’s social services department for a referral to assistance programs in your area. You can also contact Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army or your local United Way office.
Hospitals receiving funds from your county or state may not turn you away for inability to pay if you are in need of life-saving care or if you have a life-threatening medical illness.
The Hill-Burton Free and Reduced Health Care Foundation provides medical care in 186 locations around the country. You can find a list of medical facilities at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Other Places to Look for Counseling and Therapy
Pastoral Counseling - Check with your church or synagogue to find out if they offer Pastoral counseling. Certified pastoral counselors are ministers with advanced degrees and/or training in counseling. Many offer services free or on a sliding scale basis.
Social Workers/Nurse Practitioners - Check with the National Association of Social Workers and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners for referrals to members who work on either a pro-bono or sliding scale basis.
The following programs provide information on many different assistance programs to cover your co-payment or provide you with reduced cost or free medication. Most pharmaceutical companies have an assistance program, you can also contact them directly.
Partnership for Prescription Assistance - Website that puts you in touch with hundreds of patient assistance programs based on your specific medication.
BeneiftsCheckUp - This organization serves people ages 55 and up find programs to help pay some of the costs associated with prescription drugs, health care, and other essential items and services.
NeedyMeds.org - a non-profit organization helping people find assistance programs for medication and health care.
RxAssist - A database of patient assistance programs for medications.
RxOutreach - Offers generic medications to qualified individuals.
In addition, several stores offer generic medications for $4.00. Click on the links below to see a list of all medications offered by the specific store. There are many mental health prescriptions available on these lists.
Other local pharmacies may offer this same program, check with your pharmacy.
I hope this lists helps. If you know of additional resources, please leave a comment and let us know.
Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.