October 12, 2010
Today’s mental health community considers Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to be the best way to address disorders, both for its high rates of effectiveness and low rates of recidivism. Unfortunately, CBT is often tied to private clinics, which are extremely hard to afford for most families. This is a glaring problem, especially considering the fact that many insurance providers’ mental health offers are still far too meager to be of assistance to most mid- to low-income households or individuals. You don’t need to feel like you need to go without help, though. Low-cost alternatives, though far more sparse than they should be, are available, and in certain cases can be even more effective than high-priced treatments.
The first step in finding a low-cost mental health solution should be to check your local listings or search on the Internet for a nearby community mental health center. Community centers everywhere are struggling to secure funding and grants, which is especially difficult now given the economic climate and that, inexplicably, public health seems to be one of the first sectors on the chopping block for government spending cuts, but those that are still running give free or reduced cost diagnostic and educational services to anyone seeking their aid. Clinics that work with Medicare and Medicaid are also available, and are great sources of care for those who qualify. Check out the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website to search for centers in your area.
Check to see if there are any universities in your area. Many psychology and psychiatry programs at universities across the nation offer sliding-scale fee treatment options, which can prove to be a lot cheaper than a private practice. You’re also receiving care straight from the source of academic progress in the mental health field, a research area that has exploded in the last decade. Individual and family therapy is available at countless universities. In fact, you can even participate in clinical trials for new methods of treatment, and sometimes get paid for it.
If someone were to tell you that the Internet is a quality source of treatment for anxiety and panic disorders, you would probably view that person with a healthy dose of skepticism. Getting any information from the Internet can often feel like a total crap shoot. Make no mistake, there is an alarming amount of misinformation on the Web, particularly in the field of mental health. That’s why it’s so surprising to hear that, if you look in the right places, you can find web-based therapies that are just as effective as therapy sessions with clinicians, if not more so. Studies performed around the world have shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-based self-help programs on the Internet are just as effect as having regular face time with a clinician. Check out this article for more information about the efficacy and nature of online CBT treatments. The numbers are pretty staggering, but the gist is that Internet-based therapy seems to work for a majority of people who seek it, and work very well. Thanks to research like this, more time will be dedicated in the near future to further research and development toward making online therapies accessible and useful to more and more people.
Granted, the Internet being the Internet, always take precautions to make sure that the online-based CBT treatment you are using is actually legitimate. Seek out a community center or university for advice before using or choosing a certain website, or ask a local doctor or clinician. Once you’ve settled on a website, do some digging. Make sure the people behind the treatments are fully licensed clinicians with legitimate degrees. Send some emails and ask some questions. If you have any doubts, don’t go forward until they have been assuaged. Your mental health is far too important to leave in the hands of a website that is not fully trustworthy. This site is a good start, but still, perform your due diligence before going forward, no matter what option you choose to pursue.