The Wall Street Journal published an article last week on how people are giving up their therapy due to financial concerns during this economic crisis. This is concerning to mental health professionals who want to stay in business, but it is more concerning that those who need ongoing treatment and those who are in crisis may feel unable to afford treatment.
The article offers several suggestions for clients which include asking your therapist for a reduced rate or exploring whether your therapist is willing to see you less often. If these are not options, you can always discuss a referral to community services that offer low-fee treatment. The article also cautions those on medication not to reduce or stop medication without consulting with their doctor and to also explore patient assistance programs which may provide medications at a lower cost. It instructs those who are suicidal or in crisis to call their therapist or a crisis hotline.
It can be incredibly hard to reach out for help, and it can be especially challenging to bring up financial concerns in an already-established treatment. But if financial worries are influencing whether you feel you can continue to get the care you need, it is important to discuss this with your healthcare provider.
In the latest sign of the deepening economic crisis, more people are considering cutting back on their mental-health therapy, even as they become more stressed.
Across the country, psychiatrists and psychologists say they are seeing an increasing number of patients who are worried about paying for treatment. Some are reducing the amount of time they spend in therapy. Others are trying to negotiate a reduced fee. And, despite doctors’ warnings that it can be detrimental, some patients are using tactics to make their medication last longer, such as taking half their dose.
“People are in a quandary,” says Jaine Darwin, a psychologist who teaches at Harvard Medical School and has a private practice in Cambridge, Mass. “The economy is forcing them to decide, ‘Do I give up my lifeline?'”