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Money for Life work in partnership with the Money Advice Service, an independent organisation set up by government. Money AdviceService provides free, unbiased money guidance across the UK to help people make the most of their money.  If you have a question or need help, you can chat to them here.

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How to find affordable mental health support

By Rebecca Hastings

When you’re struggling with your mental health, taking the first steps towards getting help can be really difficult. Money problems can add an extra layer of stress, and many people worry about the financial implications of paying for treatment.

The important thing to remember, though, is that you’re not alone and help is always available. There are plenty of alternatives for people who can’t necessarily afford private therapy. So, if you’re feeling anxious, low or overwhelmed at the moment, read on to find out which option might be right for you…

 

Visit your GP

If you’re dealing with a mental health problem that isn’t going away, the first thing to do is visit your GP, which is free if you’re registered through the NHS. They may recommend medication – which you can decide whether or not you want to take – or refer you for talking therapies through your local IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) service.

There are a number of talking therapies available through IAPT. The most commonly offered is CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) which can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave.

Wait times for IATP talking therapies can be long, though – if you’re put on a waiting list and feel you need more urgent treatment, you may want to look into other options.

 

Counselling through charities

Depending on where you live, you may be able to get free or low-cost counselling or other talking therapies through a mental health charity. Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, Turning Point and Mental Health Matters all offer these services – visit their websites to check what’s available in your area.

With most mental health charities, you can refer yourself to receive their services. This is usually followed up with an assessment over the phone or face-to-face to determine what kind of talking therapy is best for you.

If you think you could benefit from remote counselling, The Mix offers sessions over the phone or webchat to people aged 25 and under. You can self-refer online here – you’ll usually be offered up to eight remote counselling sessions that last around 50 minutes each.

 

School, college or university services

If you’re at school, college or university, check if there’s a mental health service available for students. These often provide free counselling, information and support.

They may also be able to speak (with your consent) with your teachers if you’re struggling with your coursework due to mental health problems, offer help with meeting deadlines or arrange any special conditions you may need for exams.

 

Workplace EAPs

If you’re currently working, check whether your employer offers an EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) – larger companies often do. EAPs allow a company’s staff to access confidential support over the phone, 24 hours a day. They often offer free therapy sessions, too. Speak to your HR department to find out more – they must keep your query confidential, so your boss and colleagues won’t find out if you don’t want them to.

 

Text support

If you find it difficult to talk face-to-face or over the phone, there are a number of text support lines you can use. YoungMinds and The Mix both offer crisis messenger services that provide immediate, confidential support via text for young people experiencing any difficult or painful emotions. 

 

Forums

Online mental health discussion forums can be a great way to connect with others who are experiencing similar feelings to yours, and share tips, advice and support –all for free.

If you’re over 18, you can use Clic, a UK-wide community with forums, information and support contacts, and a chat function to allow members to talk together privately. If you’re under 18, you could try The Mix’s discussion boards, where you can talk anonymously about what’s on your mind and get support from others.

The BEAT message boards may be particularly useful for those struggling with an eating disorder. You can use these at any age.

 

Help with paying for medication

If you’ve been prescribed medication to help manage your mental health problem, but are worried about paying for it every month, don’t panic. Have a look at the NHS Low Income Scheme, which is means-tested and may be able to help you cover the cost. You can apply online, and the scheme is available to people living in all areas of the UK.

If you’re aged between 16 and 18 and in full-time education, you’re automatically entitled to free prescription medication on the NHS. You may also be entitled to free prescriptions if you or your partner, parent or guardian receives certain benefits from the government – check the NHS website for more information.

 

 

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

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Money for Life work in partnership with the Money Advice Service, an independent organisation set up by government. Money AdviceService provides free, unbiased money guidance across the UK to help people make the most of their money.  If you have a question or need help, you can chat to them here.

Launch Chat

Chat to the Money Advice Service
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Saturday, 9am to 1pm.