Medically Reviewed by Smitha Bhandari, MD on March 15, 2021

In-Person Therapy

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This is the most common type. You usually meet with a mental health professional at their office once a week for an hour or less. They’ll use research-based techniques to help you work through your problems and manage challenges.

Federally Funded Health Centers

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These are a good option if you don’t have health insurance or much money to spend on therapy. The amount you pay is based on your income. You can search online to find a health center near you.

Colleges and Universities

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Some colleges and universities offer low-cost therapy sessions with graduate students who need counseling experience. A licensed professional will supervise the session. Call the school’s psychology, psychiatry, or behavioral health department to ask if therapy is available to the public.

Online Therapy

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It’s like traditional in-person counseling, just through video. It’s a convenient way to talk to a mental health professional from wherever you’re located. This can be helpful if you have a busy schedule or live in a rural area. And it may cost less if you don’t have insurance. Make sure the therapist is licensed. Many states have online directories.

Crisis Line

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The federal government, nonprofits, and other groups offer free, private support to people facing mental health crises. Trained counselors and specialists are usually available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to talk with you about your safety and how you’re feeling. They can also connect you with resources and treatment in your area.

Veterans Crisis Line

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There’s also a crisis line designed for military veterans, their family members, and friends. You can connect with trained responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs by phone, text, or online chat. The service is free and many of the responders are also veterans.


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If you’re having a severe mental health crisis, you may need to go to the hospital. This is usually the first choice if you’re in danger of harming yourself or others. In-patient and day treatment programs can help you manage symptoms and get things back on track.

Support Groups

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Group settings can help you feel like you’re not alone when dealing with mental health challenges. Five to 15 people focus on one issue like depression or anxiety for 1-2 hours a week. A therapist leads the group. Some people do group therapy along with one-on-one sessions.

Medicaid and Medicare

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The Medicaid program offers health coverage to qualified low-income adults, kids, and people with disabilities. Funded by U.S. federal and state governments, it includes low-cost or free mental health treatment.

Clinical Trials

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Researchers use these to test new treatments to see if they’re safe and work well. It’s also a way for you to access new prescription drugs before they’re available to the public. This includes mental health medications. The clinical trial’s sponsor covers research costs, but you or your insurance company may need to pay for other things like hospital stays, lab tests, and doctor visits.

Video and Workbooks

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These treatment options can be done alone or led by a therapist. Search online or ask your therapist for suggestions.

Mobile Apps

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You can use them alone or with other treatments to manage stress, track your mood, and other things. These apps are mostly low-cost or free, which is a plus. But you’ll want to make sure they’re trustworthy. Do a bit of research to see how the app uses sensitive data.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

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You may be able to talk to a therapist for free if your job has an employee assistance program (EAP). Ask your human resources representative if it’s available and how to get started.

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