Free Mental Health Resources for Families

Mental healthcare can be expensive and sometimes out of reach. Here are several mental wellness services and resources that don't cost a dime.

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Caring for your mental well-being should be as critical as caring for your physical health. But, mental health care is often expensive and out of reach for many people. So, if it seems like mental health care will end up causing financial stress, take heart: There are free resources to help.

So many things can cause stress in our lives. Unexpected events like a pandemic, an accident, a death, or financial difficulties can magnify daily stress.

"The closer to 'in the moment' that you can understand, process, and deal with these challenges, the better," says Stephanie Macadaa, LMFT, a Los Angeles-based licensed marriage and family therapist. "Thankfully, right now, mental health services are more available and flexible than ever due to everything being online." And plenty of these services don't cost a dime.

Read on to learn about these free mental health care resources for families to find what's best for you and your family.

Individualized Offers

Certain resources might be available to you based on your residence or employer, such as pandemic-related resources, university resources, or workplace programs.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors, nurses, and social workers could register for 1,000 free months of therapy through Talkspace. To access the benefit, health care workers can register after downloading the app from Google Play or Apple's App Store or via the Talkspace website and provide their NPI and state of residence for verification.

If you live in New York, you can call the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-844-863-9314 for emotional support. Other states have similar resources, which you can find by viewing your state's health department website.

If you attend, work at, or even live near a university, you might be eligible for free mental health care through the school. And if you're currently employed, it's worth investigating whether your employer has an employee assistance program (EAP), which could qualify you for a set number of free counseling sessions and other wellness resources.

Online Materials

Various organizations have free online mental health resources. For instance, some professional mental health organizations offer provider directories, screening tools, peer-to-peer communities, webinars, and blogs. Some of these organizations include:

And if you're looking for ways to talk to kids about specific topics and activities for families, the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health offers some free resources and guides.

Social Media

Some online therapy companies offer free information, resources, and community connection through their social media accounts. For example, check out Talkspace on Instagram and Betterhelp on Instagram for some guides and tips on managing your mental health. In addition, Good Therapy on Facebook is a great place to find bits of mental health information and link-backs to their blog.

Therapist in Training

Contact your local psychoanalytic training institute, which might offer free therapy with a therapist in training if you can commit to a set number of sessions. You'll be able to work with a qualified therapist under supervision.

Online Therapy Deals

Some online therapy companies offer free trials or other deals. For example, Talkspace regularly offers $100 off with a code that you can find in a banner on their website. In addition, Online-Therapy offers a 20% discount for the first month.

Also, 7 Cups provides free 24/7 chat support staffed by volunteer listeners. They also offer a more affordable price for online therapy at $150 per month.

Mindfulness or Meditation Apps

Various sites and apps host free meditation series. For an introduction to mindfulness meditation that you can practice on your own, try the UCLA Mindful app. You can also stream or download guided meditations on their site.

And the popular meditation app Headspace offers its Weathering the Storm collection for free. They also offer a free workplace toolkit, which includes guided meditations and exercises for employers and employees.

National Hotlines

These free national hotlines are set up for moments of crisis, so if you're experiencing a critical need, you can contact one that fits your situation.

While they do not offer therapy directly, the trained helpline workers can help you locate free therapy resources nearby:

Pro Bono Services

Some community mental health providers may offer free mental health services to income-qualifying residents. Check your state or county website to learn about these programs.

If you don't qualify for community mental health services, don't hesitate to contact a therapist you're interested in working with and ask if they might take you on pro bono or work with you on a sliding scale.

Angelle E. Richardson, Ph.D., LPC, visiting assistant professor at Thomas Jefferson University explains, "Often therapists are willing to work with clients based on their income to ensure that they can get the services that they need."

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