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Technology is creating alternatives for inaccessible mental health care

“It's estimated that this year alone, over 10 million Americans will be affected by seasonal depression, which is also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D for short,” Liam Hackett, Founder & CEO at Ditch the Label, an anti-bullying non-profit organizations, told Yahoo Finance.

“We know that mental health can be difficult to protect if you are from a lower income background,” he added. “The cost of therapy can make it inaccessible to a lot of people.”

(Photo: Getty)

S.A.D. is most common in the colder months, with symptoms including fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, suicidal thoughts, sleepiness, guilt, and anxiety. David Guggenheim, Chief Behavioral Health Officer at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, suggests seeing a mental health professional if you are experiencing these symptoms.

But care can be pricey, especially if you don’t have health insurance. A copayment to see a therapist for someone with health insurance is approximately $10-$20/hr, whereas without insurance a 1-hour visit can be anywhere between $50 to $250. And the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that the most common reason for why people did not get mental health care when they needed it was because they could not afford the cost.

Fortunately, with the growth of technology and communities nationwide, there are some cheaper and even free options for receiving some mental health care.

“There's programs like Talkspace, or other online platforms, that allow you to text or video chat with a therapist, when they're needed,” Guggenheim said. “Those cost, typically about $100.00 to $200.00 a month. If you're looking for no cost, and you're uninsured, there's a network of community health centers throughout the country, that can see people without payment at all, or meet you where you are, and do it on the sliding scale.”

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