Frequently Asked Questions
At Therapy4thePeople, we truly believe that therapy and other mental health supports can be transformative. That’s why we’re working to ensure everyone has access to them. By starting the process of searching for mental health services and supports, you’re in the beginning phase of changing your life.
We know finding appropriate care and support can be challenging–this FAQ is intended to make this process easier and help you make the most of our site!
How do you screen the listings in your directory to ensure they are free or low-cost?
- Listings are added by our team, by providers of mental health services, or by developers of mental health apps. We screen all listings that aren’t added by our team. To be included in our directory, mental health services and supports must be free or cost less than $30 a session (e.g., for therapy with a licensed therapist). There’s always a small chance that a resource could sneak through that is not free or affordable, or that the cost may have increased since they were originally added to the site. Be sure to always double check the cost of a resource prior to committing.
- For apps and other digital tools, we only include them in our directory if they cost $10 or less per month for a subscription fee or $10 or less for a one-time fee. We also include apps that have free features, even if they cost extra for access to its full content (e.g., Calm). There’s always a small chance that app fees may increase since they were added to our site, so it’s important to double check fees prior to downloading. Also note that some apps may contain in-app purchases, it’s up to you whether you would like to pay for these extras.
How do you screen listings in your directory to ensure they are high quality?
- We ask providers of mental health services to tell us what types of research-supported treatments they offer, and list those in our directory.
- Regarding mental health apps and digital supports, we use PsyberGuide, a trusted expert in the field of digital mental health, to help determine the quality of free or low cost apps we add to our site. We screen apps using PsyberGuide’s five-point credibility scale, focusing on the science supporting the technology and the credibility of the development process.
I’m looking for a free or low-cost psychiatrist and/or psychiatric medications. Can I find these in your directory?
- Psychiatric medicine is an important component in the continuum of mental health services. However, our directory focuses on non-medication approaches to mental healthcare, such as therapy, peer support, and text and chat lines.
- That being said, many mental health centers and health clinics listed in our directory have psychiatrists or nurse practitioners on staff who can help with prescribing and managing psychiatric medications. These professionals are often the most affordable way to find medication management services, as most accept Medicaid/public insurance or offer sliding fee scales (see definition below in “common terms”). To find these agencies, use the ‘Advanced Search’ function of our directory and choose ‘Yes’ next to ‘Medication Management Services’ along with any other qualifiers you would like to search for (e.g., zip code). Note – this will only pull up a list of community mental health centers that offer psychiatric medications, not individual providers.
- Another resource to find free and affordable medications is https://www.needymeds.org/
Where do I start my journey searching for mental health services and supports?
- It can feel overwhelming to know where to even start when searching for mental health services and supports! Services and supports for mental health and well-being can take a variety of formats. Here are definitions for the services and supports we offer in our directory:
- Individual Therapy: 1-on-1 support from a licensed therapist or counselor.
- Group Therapy: A group of people facing similar problems gets support from a licensed therapist or counselor.
- Family & Couples Therapy: A family or couple gets support from a licensed therapist or counselor.
- Support Group: A group of people facing similar problems support each other with a trained facilitator.
- Guided Self-Help: An online mental health course or program you complete on your own.
- Peer Support: Support from a trained peer who has faced similar problems.
- Hotlines: Support from trained volunteers via phone call.
- Chat Services: Support from trained volunteers via online messaging.
- Text Services: Support from trained volunteers via text messaging.
- Apps: Digital tools to support your mental health.
- We encourage you to explore different types of services and supports. You can even try more than one at a time! For example, pairing therapy with digital apps or peer support can be a great combination.
- If you don’t feel ready for therapy just yet, you can try other forms of support that you feel more comfortable with.
How do I do a good search?
- Great question! With over 300 listings (and growing!) in our directory, it’s important to know how to find the supports and services that best match your needs. If you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for, starting with some keywords like “depression,” “trauma,” “Spanish,” or “therapy” on the search bar on our homepage might be your best bet.
- If you have a better idea of what you’re looking for, use the ‘Advanced Search’ function of our directory. Here you can select any items that are important to you – such as:
- Concerns you or your loved one may be facing, like anxiety, depression, or coping with COVID-19.
- The type of mental health service you’re looking for, like therapy, support groups, or hotlines.
- The type of research-supported treatment you may be searching for, like cognitive behavioral therapy.
- The language that the services and supports are offered in, such as Spanish or French.
- Whether the service is free, and if not, ways to pay for them such as through insurance or a sliding scale.
- Location of the service: In most cases, therapy can only be provided by a therapist who is licensed in the state you are in, so it’s best to search by zip code or state. If you’re interested in finding a virtual / remote service or support, you can select “National Availability” to get services you can access regardless of where you’re located.
- Click the “search” button and scroll through free and low-cost mental health services and supports tailored to your needs! Listings appear in alphabetical order.
What should I expect when starting therapy?
- Great question. The process can vary based on where you’re receiving treatment. For therapy, you can generally expect to start with an “intake” where a trained mental health provider (generally psychologist) will ask you a lot of questions to learn more about your strengths and challenges and why you’re coming to therapy. Learn about what happens at the start of therapy in this blog post.
How long do I have to wait to start therapy?
- The process for starting therapy can be different depending on where you’re getting services. For example, therapists working independently or in a small group (called private practice) may be able to get you in faster. For services at community-based mental health agencies or clinics, you may have to be on a “waitlist” for sometime. Waitlists can range from a week to months or even a year or more depending on the agency.
- More on waitlists: Unfortunately, waitlists are common in mental health agencies and clinics, especially if they offer free services or accept Medicaid or public insurance. If you’re placed on a waitlist for more than a month, we have the following recommendations:
- Ask the scheduler to call you if a cancellation comes up. Let them know you or your loved one are eager to start services.
- Get on the waitlist at multiple agencies/clinics. That way you can accept the appointment wherever you can get the soonest appointment.
- While you’re on a waitlist: Waiting for therapy can be difficult. You’ve already been vulnerable and asked for help – something that is difficult to do! Only to be told you have to wait. We understand this can be disappointing and frustrating. Check out this blog post for our recommendations on what to do while you’re on a waitlist.
- Here are some things you can do while you wait for therapy:
- Download a free mental health app that can help you monitor your emotions
- Use a guided self-help mental health program
- Join a support group in your area
- If you’re in a crisis, see this post on how to access crisis / emergency services
The listing that I’m interested in is a research study. What does that mean? And why should I participate?
- Research is a way that scientists learn how to help people struggling with mental health concerns. The research studies in our directory are treatment studies that offer support or therapy for mental health concerns. These studies are free to participate in, time-limited (meaning they generally only last for a few weeks or months), supervised by experts, and approved by ethics boards.
- There’s many reasons to be a part of a research study! First, many studies offer new and cutting-edge treatments that are free. In fact, many studies will even pay you to participate! By participating in research, you’re helping researchers develop and test new types of therapy that can help a lot of people in the future.
I’m the parent or caregiver of a child or teenager who needs mental health support - how should I use your site?
- Starting the journey of finding mental health supports for your child can be scary. Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
- Using the ‘Advanced Search’ function of our directory, under “groups served” select your child’s age range. You can also select any other items that are important to you like:
- Concerns your child may be facing, like anxiety.
- Whether you’re searching for a research-supported treatment, like cognitive behavioral therapy.
- Restrictions you may have on costs of the services, such as whether your insurance is accepted or if the resource is always free.
- If you’re looking for services near where you live (e.g., therapy), enter in your zip code. Otherwise, select “national availability” for all listings, including phone / text lines, online support groups, digital apps, and self-guided supports.
I’m a teenager seeking mental health support - how should I use your site?
- We’re glad you’re starting the process of searching for support. It’s a huge step forward in the journey to be here! We’re happy to help you along the way.
- Using the ‘Advanced Search’ function of our directory, under “groups served” select “adolescents/teens.” You can also select any other items that are important to you like:
- Concerns you may be facing, like anxiety.
- Whether you’re searching for a provider who is sensitive to the needs of LGBTQ folks.
- Restrictions you may have on costs of services, like whether your insurance is accepted or if the resource is always free.
- If you’re looking for supports near where you live (e.g., therapy), enter in your zip code. Otherwise, select “national availability” for all listings, including phone / chat / text lines, online support groups, digital apps, and self-guided supports.
Common terms and definitions:
- Crisis: When someone is in immediate danger of hurting themselves or others, or of being hurt by someone else, we consider this a crisis. That means that the person needs immediate help and should not wait to find a therapist. You can find more information on crisis services here.
- Mental Health Support: This is a general term that describes many different ways that people can get support when they have concerns about their mental health. The highest level of support in our directory is one-on-one therapy, but not everyone is ready for that right away. Chat services allow you to talk with someone who’s trained to listen and can help you decide if therapy is right for you and where to find it. Peer support groups can also be a great way to connect with others facing the same issues.
- Therapy: Therapy (specifically psychotherapy) is a form of mental health support that is provided by someone who has had special training in helping people understand and work on what’s troubling them. It can take the form of individual (one-on-one) therapy, group therapy led by a therapist, or couples/family therapy. Therapy is available for people of all ages and can help with all sorts of concerns, even if someone doesn’t have a diagnosis or doesn’t know exactly “what’s wrong.”
- Sliding Fee Scale: A flexible way to calculate the cost of therapy sessions based on a person’s income. The lower your income, the greater the discount (up to a certain point). Not all therapists or agencies offer sliding scales, but it doesn’t hurt to ask!
- Fee Waiver: A form that can be completed to request that the cost of services be reduced.