March 02, 2016

By NAMI HelpLine

The NAMI HelpLine handles requests for information on mental health conditions, treatment options, local NAMI programs, recovery strategies, resource referral and support. Last year over 50,000 people contacted the HelpLine and received this essential service from NAMI staff members, trained volunteers and interns.

You can reach the NAMI HelpLine at 800-950-6264, Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., ET, or by writing to [email protected]. We also have a list of other frequently asked questions.

This posts below are adapted from emails that people have sent requesting information and support from the HelpLine.

My son is on a medication that is $535 a month. He has a $3,000 deductible. It took years to find the right medications that really help, and now it’s almost impossible to pay for his prescriptions. Are there any programs to assist with the cost of medicine? Thank you for your help. – Judy

Dear Judy,

Thank you for contacting NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. We understand how expensive the cost of medication can be and we’ll do our best to help. No one should be denied essential medication and wellness. NAMI has information on getting help paying for medications, and there are other options for helping to make your son’s prescriptions more affordable.

RX Hope can act as your advocate in receiving eligibility for low-cost/free prescriptions. You may visit RX Hope online and search for your medications through their Patient & Caregiver portal.

Try checking out the websites for NeedyMeds or the Partnership for Prescription Assistance for additional information on prescription assistance options. NeedyMeds also provides a helpline that can be reached at 800-503-6897.

The Assistance Fund provides monetary assistance for co-pays, deductibles, premiums and other medical expenses. Visit The Assistance Fund online, or reach out to them by phone at 1-855-845-3663.

Another organization that may be helpful is Need Help Paying Bills. Their website provides information on state and local assistance programs. Please visit their website and click on your state through the State & local programs tab on the left to see a list of programs your son may qualify for.

Medicaid is a public state and federal combined health insurance program, which provides health insurance coverage to low-income children and adults who meet certain eligibility criteria. Eligibility for Medicaid varies in every state, but it may be helpful to see if your son qualifies. Medicaid generally covers the cost of prescription medications for those who are eligible.

We always encourage people to contact their local NAMI for information about resources in your community.

– The NAMI HelpLine

I'm looking for a therapist for my 11-year-old daughter who recently began having panic attacks. We have been unable to locate someone in town, and I'm looking for anyone within an hour drive who works with younger kids her age, does CBT, and experienced with panic disorder in kids. –Wendy

Dear Wendy,

We recently received your email requesting a therapist for your daughter. We understand how difficult it can be to locate services for young people, especially in smaller communities. I agree that visiting a psychologist or psychiatrist could be a great opportunity for your daughter to speak with a professional about managing her symptoms. Many people also feel that building a rapport with their mental health team provides them with the consistent support they need to thrive. Hopefully we can offer some resources which will connect you with care options and support for your family.

Our website contains great information about living with and treating mental health conditions. You may be interested in learning to manage symptoms of anxiety, tips for helping your child and family, and more about finding a mental health professional. Your daughter may also be interested in reading about mental health information for teens and young adults.

If you would like to work with your existing health insurance, you should contact your healthcare provider to see which psychologists are covered under that plan. You may also be able to find a provider in your area using Psychology Today’s Find a Therapist tool. Once you’ve entered your location, you can select a professional based on location, area of specialization and other subcategories to focus your results. They even have a filter to search for providers specializing in a child and adolescent psychology.

If affordability is a consideration, we’d recommend reaching out to SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. SAMHSA is a government organization that offers referrals to low-cost and sliding scale mental health care in your community. You can call them at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or access their Treatment Locator online.

To locate pediatric referrals for your daughter, you may want to visit the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. They have an online resource center for information on pediatric mental illness, and may be able to help you locate a provider.

For support in recovery from panic disorder, you may wish to consult the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), which you can find online or contact at 240-485-1001. They provide information and referrals on prevention/treatment for anxiety, depression and related conditions.

You may also be interested in our NAMI Basics course, which is a free, 6-week education program for parents and family caregivers of children and teens who are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition or whom have already been diagnosed. The NAMI Basics course covers the following goals and topics:

  • Managing crises, solving problems and communicating effectively
  • How to take care of yourself and handle stress
  • Developing the confidence and stamina to support your child with compassion
  • Advocating for your child's rights at school and in health care settings
  • Learning about current treatments, including evidence-based therapies, medications and side effects
  • Gaining an overview of the public mental health care, school and juvenile justice systems
  • Understanding the challenges and impact of mental health conditions on your entire family

To learn about NAMI Basics or NAMI Family Support Groups in your community, please contact your local NAMI for dates and times.

– The NAMI HelpLine

I have a 55-year-old mother who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia for more than 30 years. She’s never accepted the diagnosis and often refuses treatment. My siblings and I are really having a hard time finding good care for her. She constantly hears voices and talks to herself. We have all joined NAMI so that we can better understand of what's going on and learn to better cope with it. The whole family is at wits end. First, we want to ensure that her medication is still working. Secondly, we think hospitalization may be needed. Please help us with some information and guidance. It would be greatly appreciated. – Marie

Dear Marie,

I’m glad you joined NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. You’ve described your mother’s experience living with schizophrenia, and how it has affected your family. We understand how difficult it can be to help a loved one, especially when they are resistant to treatment. Our staff members and volunteers aren’t mental health professionals; we are people affected by mental health conditions and loved ones working towards recovery.

Local NAMI Affiliates can provide information on community resources and support services. They offer free education programs and support groups for people with a mental health condition and family members. I highly recommend attending a NAMI Family-to-Family education program or a NAMI Family Support Group.

Our website contains great information on living with and treating mental health conditions. Browse our Learn More and Find Support sections for information about managing psychosis, treating schizophrenia, and ways to support recovery.

Conflict with your mother about how to best help can be very difficult. Adults cannot be forced to participate in treatment or take medication unless a mental health professional determines that they are a danger to themselves or others or treatment is court ordered.

There could be many reasons why a person decides to not engage in treatment. However, without treatment many people aren’t able to achieve the type of life they’d like to have.  In this case, developing trust will put you in a better position to discuss the benefits of participating in treatment and how it may help them achieve their life goals. It may also be important to have an honest discussion about how their decision affects your relationship with them. Setting clear expectations and discussing the possible consequences of not accepting treatment is important. 

Some mental health professionals believe a related condition, anosognosia, or a person’s inability to recognize their own mental illness, contributes to an unwillingness to take medication or participate in treatment. When a person has no insight into their condition, it can create a difficult situation.

Many people are helped by the book, “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help!” by Dr. Xavier Amador. It is a guide on how to communicate with a loved one when they aren’t aware they are living with a mental health condition, or how it may be affecting their life. Dr. Amador’s website, the LEAP Institute features videos and articles that explain his approach.

Keep in mind that it may take some trial and error to find the right treatment team. Encourage your mother to be patient with herself as she meets with various professionals. You can browse the following resources to find a program nearby:

  • If your family has health insurance, first ask the insurance company for in-network referrals. Psychology Today has a Find a Therapist tool that allows you to search for a provider or facility in your area and filter results to meet your needs.
  • You can also reach out to SAMHSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. SAMHSA is a government organization that refers to affordable mental health care in your community. Call them at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or go online to their Treatment Locator.

– The NAMI HelpLine

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NAMI HelpLine is available M-F, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. ET. Call 800-950-6264,
text “helpline” to 62640, or chat online. In a crisis, call or text 988 (24/7).