To help you through this difficult time there are a variety of therapists, psychologists and other mental health providers to which you can turn. Because of the pandemic, most of them are now offering counsel to clients online through teletherapy services. This will allow you to interact virtually with a therapist from the comfort of your home using a smartphone, tablet or computer.
A good first step to locating a therapist is to ask your primary care provider or family and friends for a referral. You can also look on your insurer’s website for a list of therapists covered under your plan. Be aware that some insurers have limited, or even no coverage, for mental health. Many mental healthcare providers don’t participate in insurance plans. Medicare does cover mental health services.
Other resources to help you find a good therapist include online finder tools at the American Psychological Association (locator.apa.org) and the American Psychiatric Association (finder.psychiatry.org).
If you want some help, there are also online platforms that can help match you with a licensed mental health provider. For example, Talkspace (talkspace.com) and BetterHelp (betterhelp.com) are virtual services you can access through your phone or computer that contract with thousands of licensed and credentialed therapists.
The process starts with a few questions to assess your goals, condition and preferences, and then matches you with top therapists in your state.
If you don’t have insurance coverage or can’t afford therapy, you can call or text 211 (or go to 211.org) anytime for a referral to a provider who offers support at no cost or on a sliding scale that based on your budget.
You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 and ask for a referral to a local resource or provider or ask to be transferred to their “warm line” for nonemergency calls where you can talk anonymously to a trained professional at no cost.
Another possible option is Federally Qualified Health Centers, which are community-based health centers, some of which may offer teletherapy services at no cost. To search for centers in your area, visit FindAHealthCenter.hrsa.gov. There’s also the Open Path Collective (openpathcollective.org), where therapists offer low-cost online sessions for $30-$60.
Before you start sessions with a therapist, it’s important to make sure he or she meets your needs. If you’re not comfortable with the person, you’re unlikely to benefit from the therapy. Schedule a call or a video chat to get a feel for each other and to ask about the therapist’s training, years in practice, specialties, therapy techniques and fee.
Ideally the therapist you choose will be a good personality fit for you and will be within your budget and/or covered by your insurance.