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Low-Cost, Free, and Alternative Mental Health Resources

Whether you’re a parent, spouse, employee, or full-time student, taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your life obligations. In fact, focusing on your mental health means more than just acknowledging the absence of a mental illness; it includes the active, holistic pursuit of your physical, emotional, psychological, and social well-being. These are all essential factors to consider when looking to decompress, relieve stress or find moments of stillness. And while finding a therapist can feel expensive, there are many tools available to help you treat your mental health without breaking the bank. 

Kick-off Mental Health Awareness Month by reading some helpful resources and methods you can access from the comfort of your home starting today. 

Low-Cost to Free Resources 

  • Betterhelp – Known as one of the country’s most accessible low-cost therapy platforms, Betterhelp’s goal is to provide access to licensed and accredited psychologists, therapists, clinical social workers, and professional counselors. Focused on pairing you with professionals in your area, Betterhelp works on a monthly membership model and allows you to cancel at any time, so you’re in control. With the ability to conduct virtual sessions via phone, video, and chat, BetterHelp is a great option for those looking for quick, affordable sessions on their schedule.
  • Open Path Psychotherapy Collective – Aiming to provide transformative mental health care, Open Path seeks to bridge the gap between licensed, quality therapy and lower- to middle-income households. As a nonprofit network, Open Path works on a Lifetime Membership model with no annual fees allowing you access to a therapist regardless of your location or season of life. Offering counseling for individuals and families alike, Open Path is a perfect choice for those wanting to make therapy a regular practice in their life. 
  • Talkspace – Considered one of the top picks for online therapy applications, Talkspace offers over 3,000 counselors for a wide range of conditions or situations. With multiple types of plans and payment methods, Talkspace allows you to chat via phone, text, audio messaging, or live sessions with experienced therapists, counselors, and psychiatrists from wherever you are.
  • Mental Health AmericaA big part of mental health is understanding that you’re not alone. As such, joining a support group can be a great place to voice your concerns with people undergoing similar circumstances. Mental Health America helps you find a support group in your area. 
  • Crisis Text Line – Through the Crisis Text Line, you can contact a trained, non-licensed volunteer 24/7 with a few simple, easy steps. Available as a free service for those experiencing any type of crisis, the Crisis Counselor will chat with you through your situation to help you feel calmer and/or get the help you need. 

Alternative Methods 

  • Get Your Exercise On – According to the Mayo Clinic, physical exercise can help combat symptoms typically associated with depression and anxiety. When you exercise, your body releases those feel-good endorphins that can signal to your brain an enhanced sense of well-being, taking your mind away from negative thoughts or stress. Taking walks, going for a run, or doing yoga are great ways to proactively address your mental health. 
  • Channel Your Inner Chef – Featured in Psychology Today, culinary therapy is gaining popularity among those seeking to mix creativity with mindful tasks like cooking and baking. Connecting your food memories to current stressful situations can gradually modify stress levels via cognitive-behavioral therapy in a less expensive (and fun!) way. Whether there’s a recipe you’ve been wanting to try or you’re interested in finding out what dish you can prepare with the items in your cabinets, this is an unconventional, but enjoyable technique to use to improve your mental state. 
  • Create, Imagine, and Paint  – Art has been a significant part of human culture and life for centuries, making it a suitable (and semi-affordable) option for those looking to de-stress through painting, drawing, or doodling. An article by Smithsonian Magazine outlines the increasing demand of art therapy over the last 75 years and its introduction into schools, hospitals, and prisons across the United States to deal with social and emotional disorders, including depression, ADHD, and self-esteem. So, the next time you are overwhelmed or stressed, consider taking an art class. You might be surprised how much calmer you feel. 
  • Realign Your Spiritual Walk – ACU Online cares about the mental health of our students, faculty, and staff; and we recognize that our spiritual lives are deeply connected to our sense of well-being and flourishing. This realization is why ACU Online infuses vocational formation into our curriculum. Available to all students, Vocatio Talks covers a wide variety of topics, but centers on helping you discover how you can rest, find reassurance, and clarity in God’s purpose for your life. These talks are accessible online anytime and can serve as a valuable resource to help you gain a thriving spiritual life. 

Mental health doesn’t need to be something you sideline in your life. With multiple challenges around you, it’s time to start taking your mental health seriously. You matter to the world, your family, and to God. Want to help people deal with mental health or other issues? Learn more about our Master of Marriage and Family Therapy degree.

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