The recent economic downturn has been hard on a lot of us. People have lost their jobs, food and gas costs have risen, and there is a lot of uncertainty. This is all on the heels of dealing with the stress of a global health crisis. It's no wonder anxiety, and depression levels are at an all-time high. Unfortunately, mental health care is often one of the first things to be sacrificed during difficult financial times. For many people, putting food on the table or keeping a roof over their heads becomes a top priority, and mental health takes a backseat.
If you're struggling to cope, you may be tempted to forego therapy in favour of other expenses. However, putting off therapy can have devastating effects, as neglecting mental health can lead to more significant problems down the road. Therapy is an investment worth making. And don't worry; we have even included a few tips for low-cost or no-cost therapy alternatives!
The Cost of Untreated Mental Health
Some common reasons people seek therapy include relationship issues, anxiety disorders, grief, depression, substance use, trauma and mood or personality disorders. It is easy to think that "it's not that bad" or "I will go later," but it can have dire consequences.
Untreated personality disorders can lead to further health complications, relationship difficulties, and risky behaviours.
Untreated trauma can lead to increased anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and difficulty maintaining healthy relationships.
Increased substance use can lead to alcoholism and addiction.
Neglecting relationship counselling can cause severe damage over time.
Untreated anxiety can lead to chronic health problems.
Untreated depression can lead to suicide.
Despite the expense, investing in mental health treatment is vital because it can improve quality of life and save money in the long run. Self soothing by using alcohol or other drugs have a cost, which is often more expensive than therapy. The cost is measured in more than just dollars.
Low Cost or Free Mental Health Alternatives
There are many ways to invest in mental health, even when money is tight. Here are just a few examples:
Talk to your therapist or counsellor about lower rates or sliding-scale fees. Many therapists will work with you if you cannot afford their regular rates. At Nōmina Integrated Health, we offer no-charge mental health clinics every Tuesday and Thursday.
Look into free or low-cost counselling services through nonprofit organizations or university extension programs.
See if there are free or low-cost meditation or mindfulness classes in your area.
Look for free support groups.
Check to see if your employers offers benefits/an EAP program that includes mental health support
The bottom line is that no matter your financial situation, there are plenty of ways to get the help you need. Investing in therapy is an investment worth making—even during difficult economic times. If you're struggling with your mental health, relationships or coping with a major life event, therapy can help. Treatment can lead to improved mental health, stronger relationships, and a greater sense of well-being.