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It shouldn’t have to be so hard, but there are things you can do to make it a little easier. Explore your insurer’s directory of in-network therapists first, then browse online databases. You can check your insurance company’s online directory to start or call them directly to ask for a list of in-network therapists in your area. “Tell them exactly what you need,” Ken Duckworth, MD, NAMI CMO, tells SELF. “You’re paying them, and [helping you find a provider] is part of their obligation.” Some providers operate on a sliding scale with some of their clients. This means that the amount they charge varies based on factors like a person’s income, Dr. Duckworth explains, although how much of a discount they offer is totally up to them. So, if you’re drawn to someone you believe is an especially good choice for you, but they’re not covered by your insurance, this may be an option.
As cities from coast-to-coast grapple with addiction and homelessness, there is now a push in Congress to expand access to mental health treatment for low-income people. “We hear from families everyday who have a loved one who’s in a mental health crisis and there’s no bed available,” said Hannah Wesolowski, NAMI CAO. “There’s no place for them to get in-patient care.” That’s in large part because of a 1965 law that banned federal money from paying for mental health treatment in a hospital with more than 16 beds. “If somebody is in crisis, they go to an ER. There’s no bed available. Often, they’re discharged back on to the street. How is that helping the person and how is that improving the community?” said Wesolowski. Last month, the House overwhelmingly passed a measure to change the nearly 60-year-old rule. A similar measure is being considered in the Senate. “It’s the only piece of Medicaid law that restricts the type of care based on a person’s illness,” said Wesolowski