The popularity of mental health care is growing; in 2021, 47.2% of U.S. adults who were diagnosed with mental health conditions sought treatment. While it's encouraging that the number of people receiving the mental health services they need is rising, this stat also shows that there are still a lot of people living with mental health conditions who aren’t receiving help.
There are still a few barriers that prevent many people from seeking the help of a mental health professional, including the cost of therapy. However, the benefits of therapy and improved mental well-being can outweigh its cost.
The benefits of mental health care
There are many benefits of working with a mental health professional that can make therapy a worthwhile investment, including:
About 40 million Americans currently live with an anxiety disorder, making anxiety one of the most common mental disorders in the country. Anxiety is a condition that can range from mild to debilitating. In severe cases, anxiety can dramatically impact a person's quality of life and can even lead to physical symptoms such as digestive issues, rapid heart rate, and muscle pain.
Thankfully, there are numerous types of therapy that are specifically designed to reduce feelings of anxiety, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) — among others.
Therapy can be a big boost to a person's day-to-day mood. From reducing feelings of stress and anxiety to helping you identify and eliminate negative thought patterns that drag down your mood, there are numerous ways that talk therapy can help you develop a healthier, more positive mindset.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all secret to happiness, using therapy to address any issues that are impacting your ability to find joy in life can be a great place to start.
Mental health disorders can impact your ability to think clearly, which may lead to a number of issues:
- Becoming easily overwhelmed
- Getting distracted more easily than normal
- Losing track of time
- Interrupting or being unable to participate in normal conversation
- Forgetting important information, even when told multiple times
This may impact interpersonal relationships, but can extend to a person’s career as well — even impacting their job performance. Research finds that when mental health suffers, productivity can decline.
Therapy can help address intrusive, negative, and unhelpful thought patterns, which may help you stay focused, maintain healthier interpersonal relationships, and improve job performance.
Greater sense of inner peace
The world can often be a worrisome and chaotic place. But your world is yours to control. By creating a sense of acceptance, providing coping skills and self-care strategies, identifying and reframing negative thought patterns, and numerous other methods, therapy can provide a greater sense of inner peace.
Our relationships with others can have a major impact on our mental health. Likewise, a person's mental health can have a big impact on their relationships.
Therapy can help eliminate the thoughts and behaviors that negatively impact your relationships with those you love. Many therapists will also work with you to help you improve those relationships, providing helpful advice on making them stronger and more beneficial.
Reasons why mental health care can be expensive
According to Psychology Today, the average cost of seeing a therapist (without an insurance plan that covers mental health services) is $100-$200 per therapy session. But why is therapy so expensive? There are several reasons why mental health care can sometimes be expensive, including:
Specialized training and education
While each state determines the scope of practice allowed by its counseling license, in most states the requirements for licensure include:
- Master’s degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field
- Supervised clinical hours
- Passing exam scores from state-recognized counseling exams like the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification or the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Exam
Therapists are also required to complete specialization training before they are able to take an exam and earn their license, including working under the supervision of another licensed therapist for a certain number of years.
In-person care can be costly
The stat we quoted earlier on average therapy costs was for in-person therapy, and in-person care tends to be more expensive than online therapy. The biggest reason for this is that in-person therapists usually have a lot more overhead than online therapists. Office space and supplies, energy costs, and staff wages can all add up quickly, and in-person therapists are often required to make up these costs by charging higher rates.
Online therapists don't usually have the same overhead and can therefore get by charging lower rates. While there are some benefits of seeing your therapist in person, the reduced cost of online therapy makes mental health services more accessible to a lot of people.
At SonderMind, we match clients with both online and in-person therapists — whichever option works best for your needs and budget — to help you find the most ideal care.
Increased demand for mental health care
The fact that the popularity of mental healthcare is growing is a great thing. However, it also means that we are seeing higher costs for mental health services. Mental healthcare operates just like any other industry: When demand goes up and supply doesn’t, higher prices are the result.
This isn't true across the board, and many therapists continue to charge the same rate today that they have for years. However, the increased demand for mental health care is one key reason why mental health services can sometimes be expensive.
Insurance coverage could be limiting
In recent years, many health insurance companies have expanded their coverage for mental health services. Before you schedule an appointment with a therapist, it's always a good idea to check with your insurance provider to see what your insurance covers and what your out-of-pocket costs will be.
Some insurance plans require people to get referrals before they are willing to cover mental health services, so you may need to get a referral from your primary doctor before you meet with a therapist. SonderMind doesn't require a referral from a primary care provider, but your insurance company still might require it.
It's also important to check and see if the therapist you are considering is in-network with your insurance plan, as out-of-network providers will charge higher rates.
Lack of accessibility
Paying your therapist isn't the only expense associated with seeking therapy. A lack of accessibility to mental health services can create several indirect expenses, including taking time off work to travel to their therapist, the fuel that it takes to get there, childcare arrangements, and so on.
This is another reason why online therapy has become so popular. With an online therapist, most accessibility issues and the expenses that they create can be eliminated.
The cost of not seeking help
Mental health care can often be expensive, but it's not nearly as costly as the potential impact of not receiving the help that you need. Mental health disorders can impact every aspect of a person's life, from their career to their relationships to their overall wellness.
But there are also direct financial costs associated with not caring for your mental well-being. You may call out of work more often than normal, resulting in less pay. Left untreated, some mental health conditions can spiral out of control and manifest into physical ailments, which may result in more trips to the doctor’s office, urgent care, or emergency room — all of which come at a cost.
Find a therapist today with SonderMind
Investing in your mental health is an investment that can pay a variety of dividends. Healthier relationships, a more positive mindset, reduced feelings of stress and anxiety, and a better understanding of yourself are just a few of the benefits that therapy can provide.
At SonderMind, we’re committed to helping make therapy more accessible and affordable. We match you with an online or in-person therapist suited to your preferences and mental health needs. Along with providing access to affordable online therapy, SonderMind also allows you to easily review the rates that therapists charge so that you can select a therapist that fits your budget, and many take insurance.
Your mental health is something that is worth investing in: Get matched with a SonderMind therapist today.