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4 Tips for Getting Mental Health Care If You Don't Have Insurance

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So, you recognize you have a mental health condition and want to receive treatment for it but you don’t have any health insurance. Unfortunately, this is a reality for so many Americans living with mental illness. It is a struggle I know all too well. I had no health insurance for the entire year of 2016. It consequently lead to my mental illnesses worsening to the point that I ended up being hospitalized for depression. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information available about how you can qualify or receive cost effective mental health care. I hope sharing this list of ways to receive mental health care without insurance will help those of you who need it to not end up in the same situation as me or worse.

Please take the information below as a guideline. Because healthcare is actively changing, not all information may be correct at your time of reading this.

1. See if you qualify for Medicaid/Medicare or a low-cost insurance plan.

The first thing I would do is go to and see what you qualify for. If you aren’t applying during the enrollment period, you will have to have had a “major life event” to apply such as giving birth, losing your job or moving.

One thing I did not know is you have to make around $12,000 a year (before taxes are taken out) to qualify for the tax incentive which will lower your monthly payment drastically. If you do not make that amount, you may qualify for other programs.

2. Go to a free clinic.

If you do not qualify for anything I have mentioned above, there is still hope for you to receive mental health care. Free clinics have amazing resources for those who do not have health insurance. You can search for a free clinic in your area by visiting the Partnership for Prescription Assistance website.

3. Look for mental health providers with “sliding scale” payment.

Many mental health providers offer sliding scale payment arrangements. These providers will only make you pay what you can afford. You can search for sliding scale providers in your area by doing a simple web search or by calling The National Alliance On Mental Illness (NAMI) at this number: 1-800-950-NAMI.

4. Sign up for a program to help pay for your prescriptions.

There are many programs that will provide assistance in obtaining your medications. Walmart has a program where you can get your medication for only four dollars.

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance also has a website that will help you get your medications by placing you in a program that you qualify for where your medications will be free or nearly free. Learn more about this program here.

Please remember if you ever have thoughts of harming yourself that you can contact The National Suicide Prevention Line free of charge at: 1-800-273-8255. You can also visit their online chat here.

Best of luck! Don’t stop searching and reaching out until you get the help you deserve.

Stay strong,


If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via chombosan.

Originally published: August 15, 2017
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