Updated: Jul 21
Discussing mental health and often even having a mental health disorder has a couple year ago explaining how employees with mental health disabilities are protected un der the ADA law. There is also the exist. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and before it ends we want to make sure that we verbalize, that you are not alone. According to the National Alliance of Mental Health Awareness (NAMI), more than 51 million adults in the United States face the reality of managing mental health illnesses daily. I in 6 youth have experiences with mental health conditions every year. One of the biggest barriers when managing mental health struggles is finding the appropriate support and aid. I have compiled a list of how to find mental health professionals, job assistance, supportive communities, and emergency resources, that will hopefully help you or someone that you know.
[*If you need immediate assistance, please click here to jump to emergency resources*]
Mental Health Care Providers
I know that it can be incredibly difficult to find adequate and affordable mental health care depending upon your location, insurance, finances, etc. Here are some different solutions.
If you have insurance: You can contact your insurance provider directly via phone and ask for assistance finding a provider in-network or log into their online portal and use their provider search tool to narrow down your requests (ie: distance to travel, religion, gender…). You can also search for covered providers on the Psychology Today website.
If you do not have insurance, but are able to spend some money: Nowadays there are apps that you can pay a monthly subscription (with different tiers), that give you access to therapeutic help. You take a quiz and a consultant matches you to a therapist. Many of these apps and websites also have a financial aid option, so you may be able to enroll at a lower monthly fee. Some popular websites and apps that allow you to connect with therapists are TalkSpace and BetterHelp. Remember that everyone is different, so what may work for one person may not work for you and that’s okay.
If you are within the LGBTQIAA community, then many LGBT+ centers offer free counseling. You can use Google to find your local center and see what they offer.
Check with your Employer or HR department. Many employers offer mental health services or have contacts and connections for their employees to be able to seek free or affordable mental health assistance.
If you are a student, your school or college should have a counselling or welfare department that offers free services.
You can search your State’s or County’s Health Department Website as some local governments offer free services for residents depending upon certain qualifying factors.
Planned Parenthood has counselors that can help direct you towards local resources depending upon your needs. They don’t only offer counselling regarding family planning.
You can view your local community center’s services as well. Some of them offer special welfare days.
If you are still uncertain, you can contact the SAMHSA Helpline for general information on mental health and to locate assistance in your area within the USA. Call 1-877-726-4727 Monday through Friday 8am to 8pm EST.
ADA, Education, and Job Assistance
Sometimes when living with mental health disorders assistance is needed to be able to have equal access, but the necessary resources can seem hard to find. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to people with mental health illnesses and disorders when the meet the definition of a disability, ie: having a physical or mental impairment that greatly limits one or more major life activity.
Assistance at Work: The Social Security Department wrote this article a couple year ago explaining how employees with mental health disabilities are protected under the ADA law. The Job Accommodation Network (JAN) is a valuable resource to anyone with any disability who is trying to figure out which accommodations would best meet their needs at work and how to go about the process of requesting them. JAN has a library of suggested accommodations based upon different illnesses and disabilities
Assistance at School: The US Department of Education states that it is the school’s responsibility to provide necessary auxiliary aids the ensure that no qualified student is denied benefits or subject to discrimination. If you or someone you know wishes to see if they qualify for school assistance based upon mental health illnesses, they can review this document from the