As you might already know, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health has become a front and center topic over the last several years, with celebrities and other public figures becoming more open about their own struggles. It seems like a lot more people are affected by mental health issues than was once realized. Anxiety, depression, eating disorders and more are all considered mental health issues. I myself have lived with anxiety and depression since my teen years, and a binge eating disorder as an adult.
So what do you do when you find that you are needing help?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with getting help when you need it. In fact, even if you don’t think you need help, I think almost everyone could benefit from having an unbiased person with an outside perspective to talk to about their thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, and life in general.
I have seen several therapists off and on since I was about 13 years old, always in a traditional office setting. A little less than a year ago, I started to feel like I was sinking to a low place mentally and I needed to seek help. The problem was that my schedule was and is very busy, and I was having trouble finding a therapist who was available during my free time and who was within my price range. That’s when a friend recommended teletherapy.
What is teletherapy?
Teletherapy is therapy over the phone or internet. I downloaded an app, filled out a profile, and was matched with a counselor. One of the great things about teletherapy is that you can communicate with your counselor on your schedule. I can send my counselor messages through the app, and she usually gets back to me within 24 hours. We can also schedule video or phone sessions when it’s mutually convenient, and you can do this all from the comfort of home.
I know what you’re thinking. This sounds too good to be true, it must cost a lot! Well, you’re not entirely wrong. The cost for BetterHelp, the app that I used, is $260/month. But this gets you almost unlimited access to your counselor (within reason). You can schedule as many sessions as you want, and you can send a message whenever you need to. For one traditional in-office therapy session, you might be spending $100/hour or more, and if you do weekly sessions, that’s a monthly cost of at least $400. So really, while $260 sounds like a lot, it is actually a pretty good deal if you’re actively going to utilize the program.
I can’t speak to the costs of other teletherapy options as this is the only one I’ve tried. As always, you should do your research and try to find the best option for you. What works for me may be totally different from your needs. You may find that a traditional in-office session is what you need. What is important is that you are seeking and receiving help.
No matter what route you take, know there are resources out there, and you are not alone.
Have questions about mental illness? Visit NAMI HelpLine’s website
**If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide, or know someone who is, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit their site.**