Getting treatment for a mental health condition is an important step toward recovery. Some people worry that getting help from a doctor or counselor for a mental health condition might make them seem weak, but it is actually a sign of strength. More and more Americans are getting treatment for mental health conditions. More than 1 in 7 U.S. adults get treatment each year.1
How can I find treatment for my mental health condition?
If you would like to find treatment for a mental health condition, start by talking to a doctor, nurse, or mental health professional in your area. You can find someone near you by entering your ZIP code into the mental health services locator on the top left side (desktop view) or bottom (mobile view) of this page. You can also call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
What should I keep in mind when thinking about treatment?
When looking for treatment for a mental health condition, keep the following in mind:
It may take time to find a therapist you feel comfortable talking to. Keep trying new therapists until you find one you like. Don’t give up. If you need help finding a therapist, ask a friend or family member.
Doctors, nurses, and therapists take your privacy very seriously. There are laws that help protect your privacy, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Only in very serious, specific situations, such as abuse or physical harm, can doctors or therapists tell someone else about private medical information. Learn more about privacy and confidentiality from the American Psychological Association.
If your doctor or nurse gives you medicine for your mental health condition, know that it can take time for the medicine to work. You may need extra support from your friends, family, or mental health professional during this time.
Medicines can have unpleasant side effects, but you should never stop taking medicine without talking to your doctor or nurse first.
There are many kinds of therapy, and your doctor, nurse, or mental health professional can help you find one that works for you. Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, can happen as one-on-one, family, or group therapy sessions. A common and effective type of talk therapy is called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). During CBT, you work with a therapist to become aware of false or negative thinking so that you can view challenging situations more effectively and positively. You also work on approaching people, places, or situations that you have been avoiding in an effort to reduce your distress.
How can I pay for treatment?
Most health plans cover preventive services, like depression testing for adults and behavioral assessments for children, at no additional cost. Most health insurance plans also cover mental health treatment in the same ways they cover medical or surgical treatments. There is not a different copay, co-insurance, or deductible for mental health treatment.
If you have insurance, check with your insurance provider to find out what’s included in your plan. If you have insurance through your employer, you may be able to get help through an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which can offer short-term counseling for stress, mental health symptoms, and substance abuse.
If you have Medicaid, your plan will provide some mental health services. Some plans offer substance use disorder services.
If you have Medicare (PDF, 882 KB), your plan may help cover mental health services, including hospital stays, visits to a therapist, and medicines you may need.
If you do not have insurance, use the mental health services locator on the top left side (desktop view) or bottom (mobile view) of this page to find free or low-cost care on a sliding scale according to your income.
Other treatment resources include:
Community-based resources. Community mental health centers (CMHCs) offer mental health treatment and counseling services, usually at a reduced rate for people with low incomes. CMHCs usually require you to have a private insurance plan or to be on public assistance such as food stamps or Medicaid. Enter your ZIP code into the mental health services locator to find a mental health center in your area.
Pastoral counseling. Your religious institution can connect you with a pastoral counseling program. Certified pastoral counselors have advanced degrees in pastoral counseling, as well as professional counseling experience. Often, you pay only what you can afford, based on your income, for pastoral counseling.
Public assistance. People with severe mental illness may be eligible for several types of public assistance, both to meet the basic costs of living and to pay for health care. Examples of such programs are Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Learn more about these programs.
Self-help and support groups. Self-help or support groups give people a chance to learn about, talk about, and work on their common problems, such as alcoholism, substance use disorders, depression, family issues, and relationships. Self-help groups are usually free and can be found in almost every community in America. The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides a list of support groups nationwide.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). If you served in the military and were honorably discharged, you may be able to receive health benefits and services through the VA. Learn more about the eligibility requirements and how to enroll.
Did we answer your questions about getting treatment for a mental health condition?
For more information about treatment for a mental health condition, call the OWH Helpline at 1-800-994-9662 or check out the following resources from other organizations:
Mental Health and Addiction Insurance Help — Information about your protection under the law for mental health and substance use disorder insurance coverage from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Office on Women's Health is grateful for the medical review 2016 by:
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Danielle Johnson, M.D., FAPA, Psychiatrist, Medical Staff President, Chief of Adult Psychiatry, Director, Women’s Mental Health Program, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Cincinnati
Cassidy Gutner, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine; National Center for PTSD, Women’s Health Sciences Division, VA Boston Healthcare System, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Mark A. Lumley, Ph.D., Professor and Director of Clinical Psychology Training, Department of Psychology, Wayne State University, and his Stress and Health Laboratory team: Jennifer Carty, Heather Doherty, Hannah Holmes, Nancy Lockhart, and Sheri Pegram
Mark Chavez, Ph.D., Chief, Eating Disorders Research Program, NIMH
Kamryn T. Eddy, Ph.D., and Jennifer J. Thomas, Ph.D., Associate Professors of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Co-Directors of the Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital
Kendra Becker, M.S., Clinical Fellow in Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital
Michael Kozak, Ph.D., Division of Adult Translational Research and Treatment Development, NIMH
Alicia Kaplan, M.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Temple University School of Medicine and Drexel University College of Medicine, and Staff Psychiatrist, Division of Adult Services, Department of Psychiatry, Allegheny Health Network, Allegheny General Hospital
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