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Here's How Much Mental Healthcare Actually Costs

There's no such a thing as a "normal" cost.

There are so many factors that go into the cost of mental healthcare that it's impossible to say what's normal.

What kind of care you need, how often you need it, what kind of insurance you have, where you live, and so many other things can affect how much taking care of your mental health will cost you.

To see just how varied these costs can be, we recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us how much they spend on their mental healthcare. Here are some of their stories.

Note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

1. Delaney, $220 per month after insurance coverage

Age: 22

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

What that covers: Therapy, medication, psychiatrist appointments

"After I was hospitalized, I was recommended to begin dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) to help treat borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety, and self-harm. My insurance was great about covering my hospital stay and helping find and cover a psychiatrist, but when it came to seeking therapy I was given limited options that didn't include DBT. I have to pay $15 per session for my individual therapy and $40 per session for my group therapy. So it is $200 a month for me to receive therapy. Which puts a strain on my already tight budget.

I am fortunate in the fact that my insurance completely covered one of my medications and a bit of my other two medications. I end up paying roughly $20 a month for my medications."

2. Dan, $90 per month after insurance coverage

Age: 28

Location: New Jersey

What that covers: Therapy

"I had to switch therapists this year because I changed jobs and thus my insurance changed. I really liked the previous therapist, but I could no longer afford to see them because they did not accept my new insurance.

I have a $45 co-pay per session to see a therapist. I go once every two weeks, so I spend about $90 a month. In addition, I have recently needed to search for a psychiatrist to prescribe me medication to help treat my depression, so I would already be looking at another $45–90 a month plus the cost of medication."

3. Alex, $300 per month out of pocket

Age: 30

Location: Georgia

What that covers: Counseling

"It's for grief counseling. I go once a week. My provider isn't in the network of my new health insurance, so I pay out of pocket. I need it so I pay for it, but it's a difficult expense to manage.

The cost of my therapy hasn't changed my care-seeking behavior. I had reached a really desperate point when I went to therapy. I like my provider, and even though she became very expensive (for me) when she was no longer on my insurance (it used to be $7 a session when she was in-network!), I didn't want to start over with another."

4. Katie, £0 per month under national healthcare

Age: 21

Location: Scotland

What that covers: Therapy, medication

"I get free therapy and medication through the National Health Service (NHS). If I could afford to get private treatment, I would do so in a heartbeat. I am very grateful for the help I do receive but I feel like if I got private treatment, I would have a better chance of fully recovering. In my experience, NHS mental healthcare doesn't specialise particularly well, so if you have a mental health condition that isn't anxiety or depression, like I do, then you often get sub-par treatment."

5. Carlee, $85 per month after insurance coverage

Age: 24

Location: Boone, North Carolina

What that covers: Therapy, medication

"I see my therapist once a week for my issues with anxiety and depression. She charges $100 per 50-minute session, but my insurance covers all but $20 of that, so $20 is all I pay out of pocket. If I didn't have insurance, I could take advantage of her sliding-scale payment option which is income-based and you can pay as little as $65 per session. I spend about $5 a month on a combination of Citalopram/Celexa and Trazodone. My insurance also covers this."

6. Becca, $1670 per month after reimbursement

Age: 23

Location: Washington, D.C.

What that covers: Therapy, medication, dietician appointments, psychiatrist appointments

"I'm in treatment for an eating disorder, so I see mental health professionals four times a week — psychologist twice a week and dietician twice a week (my dietician is also a psychologist). I also see a psychiatrist once a month.

Before being reimbursed, I pay $2770 per month. I receive about $1100 back from my insurance company. Because my mental health and recovery is so important to me, I'm on the most expensive health insurance plan available to me so that I can get as much of this covered as possible. But it's still so expensive! Luckily, all of my medication is completely covered so I don't have to pay anything for that."

7. CJ, $100 per month after insurance coverage

Age: 27

Location: Delaware

What that covers: Therapy, medication

"I do cognitive behavioral therapy three times a month for my OCD and social anxiety. I'm insured and I work in healthcare so I have a good plan. I pay $15 co-pay at the time of my visit and then another $15 after my insurance is billed. So it's $90 a month. Most of the cost of my meds is covered since I take the generic. I pay $10 for a month's supply of two prescriptions.

I know I'm incredibly lucky when compared to others to have access and funds for necessary therapy and meds. I wish there was more awareness that not all people can get the help they need because of limitations brought on by their situations."

8. Emily, £16 (~$24) per month under national healthcare

Age: 24

Location: Kent, England

What that covers: Medication

"No therapy any more — previously spent £400 on private psychologist sessions. I spend £16 a month on antidepressants, not covered by the National Health Service (NHS). Sixteen pounds a month doesn't seem much, but adds up after seven years.

Our NHS is overcrowded and underfunded — wait times for counseling are usually months rather than weeks, no matter what your age or circumstance."

9. Kelly, $500 per month out of pocket

Age: 31

Location: Oklahoma

What that covers: Therapy

I pay $125 per 50-minute session of play therapy for my four-year-old daughter with anxiety, [who] currently goes once a week. Insurance covers nothing — 100% out of pocket, but 100% worth it.

I would seek mental health therapy/medication for my own anxiety if it wasn't for the cost because our insurance currently does not cover any mental health treatment."

10. Jenn, ~$278 per month after insurance coverage

Age: 22

Location: Canada

What that covers: Therapy, medication

"I have up to $500 of psychologist therapy covered by my insurance per year. I spend $150 per appointment and see my therapist anywhere from 2–4 times per month. Approximately 3.5 out of my 24 visits per year are covered, leaving me paying around $3100 per year. My dispensing fees and 'name brand' fees [for medication] run me about $20 per month.

I did not go to therapy for my university years, since I could not afford it. This resulted in my mental illness worsening and costing me more in the long run. I wish I could go to therapy consistently, however some months I am unable to afford it."

11. Emma, $100–150 per month after insurance coverage

Age: 23

Location: Washington, D.C.

What that covers: Medication, psychiatrist visits

"I have a psychotic disorder. Having great insurance makes me luckier than so many of those with mental health conditions. I cannot imagine the terror of having one or two antipsychotics left, not being able to pay for more, and knowing the longer I wait, the less likely I'll be able to do things like call my doctor or go to the pharmacy.

I see a psychiatrist weekly and attend group therapy weekly. I am very fortunate to have excellent insurance through my family and do not pay out of pocket for my therapy.

I take seven medications for my mental health (more when you add birth control and other things) which change frequently. My insurance covers the bulk of the costs, but the out-of-pocket expenses are around $100–150 per month."

12. Riikka, 5 euros ($5.44) per month under national healthcare

Age: 22

Location: Finland

What that covers: Therapy, medication

"I spend absolutely nothing [on therapy]. My city provides free mental health care. I go about once a week and I don't pay a cent, besides what they take from taxes. Approximately 5€ a month on medication. Since I go to the public mental healthcare facility I had to wait in line for a couple of months, but other than that I haven't felt bad I can't afford a private doctor."

13. Whitney, 20 euros (~$22) per month under national healthcare

Age: 25

Location: Madrid, Spain

What that covers: Medication

"I take Lexapro for depression and have been prescribed Ativan and another benzo for general anxiety disorder. I have public health care in Spain and pay under 200€/year in taxes for that right, most of which I get back in tax returns anyway, as well as a private plan covered by my job which entitles me to unlimited mental health coverage with no co-pay. Per month, my total for three prescription medications totals around less than 20€.

Having lived in the American system and now being a resident of Spain these last five years, I'm still shocked when my benzos cost under the equivalent of $5 for a 50-pack. In the United States before I became an expat, I never once sought treatment because I was afraid of how much it would cost my parents. I will stay abroad just based on my access to nearly free healthcare."

14. Nicola, $660 per month after insurance coverage

Age: 24

Location: Nova Scotia, Canada

What that covers: Therapy, medication

"I see a psychologist for psychotherapy for $640 a month. I go once a week and I pay for it all out of pocket because my insurance caps out at $600 per year. I also see my family doctor once every two weeks, which is covered under my provincial health insurance. I have four prescription mediations related to my mental health, each of them are eligible for coverage. I probably pay approximately $20 dollars a month out of pocket."

15. Amanda, ~$268 per month after insurance coverage

Age: 29

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

What that covers: Therapy, medication, psychiatrist appointments

"I go to dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) group every week and pay a $30 co-pay. My insurance covers the rest. Then every other week or so I do one on one cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a $30 co-pay and insurance usually covers the rest. Every six months or so I have a psychiatrist appointment for medication refills, which is a $50 co-pay.

I take two medications. One is a branded drug, which my insurance does cover, though at a higher co-pay, $60 per month. The other medication was recently switched to a generic, so that is now $20 co-pay per month.

I didn't seek care until I was really sure that I could afford it, even if my insurance ran out. It's now become a priority. I could have used therapy about 10 years before I actually sought it out, because I was intimidated by the cost."

16. Krista, $140–190 per month out of pocket

Age: 23

Location: Springfield, Missouri

What that covers: Therapy, medication

"I spend $140 a month for online therapy. I use this instead of traditional therapy because I have an easier time writing than I do talking about my mental illness. However, insurance doesn't cover any of the cost so it's entirely on me. Also, if I need any medication I have to go to my local doctor and get a prescription, which adds another $40 to my costs. I'm insured, so I don't have to pay much [for medication]. I only pay $10 out of pocket, and I only use my medicine if I'm really struggling.

I would prefer to go to local therapy sessions along with my online work, plus I would like greater access to self-care techniques but I can't afford it. I may need to cut down on my therapy soon because I'm having a hard time making my payments."

17. Meg, $800–1000 per month out of pocket

Age: 22

Location: Los Angeles, California

What that covers: Therapy

"Each therapy session costs around $200 (that was on the cheaper end of what I could find) and I go once a week. So, I spend about $800–1000 a month out of pocket then bill it to insurance. But my deductible is too high, so I end up just paying it all so that I can have a healthy mind. I've been told I need to go to a psychiatrist and get medication, but I have yet to do so because I'm scared of the costs."

18. Kelsey, $0 per month through university

Age: 23

Location: Denver, Colorado

What that covers: Therapy

"I can see a therapist for free through my school. I have been lucky enough to go to a school where it's not coming out of my pocket to pay for a therapist. I do worry that if I need a therapist after I graduate, the cost will be too high."

19. John, $8 per month after insurance coverage

Age: 23

Location: Chicago, Illinois

What that covers: Medication

"I am insured through my job and pay $8/month for my generic antidepressants. If my doctor were to put me on a different medication or rule that I could not have the generic version, the cost would more than triple in out-of-pocket expenses...and that's the minimum.

I have opted-out of doing therapy treatments, as the cost can become really expensive. I would hate to begin to rely on something that I know I may not be able to afford to continue in the future. I forgo taking any additional medication that may improve the side effects of my antidepressants such as dramatic increase in sweating and body temperature, difficulties falling asleep, etc."

20. Courtney, $30–45 per month after insurance coverage

Age: 34

Location: Texas

What that covers: Therapy, medication

"This is for my teen's therapy/treatment plan. She goes to a therapist every two weeks for managing anger and coping with abandonment and our co-pay is $15 per visit. She is on ADHD medication and goes to her pediatrician about every 3 months; our co-pay for that is $15 per visit. Her medicine has a generic form which is covered 100% by our insurance, so we have zero out of pocket for that. So, our total monthly out of pocket is about $30-$45.

But we have excellent insurance now — our previous insurance did not cover mental health until our deductible had been met [and] our deductible was too much to ever cover unless we had a major catastrophe. I think I shelled out between $250–350 per month for mental health care for her on our old insurance. It was so expensive that I ended up having to cut her therapy down to once per month which was not very helpful to her."

21. Kelsey, $230–830 per month after insurance coverage

Age: 25

Location: Seattle, Washington

What that covers: Therapy, medication

"I am in therapy three times a week. Once with a general therapist, a nutritional therapist, and group therapy.

I've gone back and forth and am constantly talking to my insurance company trying to convince them that I need treatment. Some months I only have to pay $200 for sessions and some months they expect upwards of $800. And there are months that they send me checks back for overpayment because they decided after the fact that they would cover treatment. I have to go through a re-authorization process every few months.

Thankfully my insurance does cover medicine and doesn't seem to have a problem covering it. I typically pay $30 a month on medicine."

22. Alexa, 2600 ZAR (~$178) per month out of pocket

Age: 18

Location: South Africa

What that covers: Psychiatrist visits, medication

"I go to my psychiatrist 1-2 times a month, which costs about 2000 South African rands. My insurance doesn't cover any of the appointments so we have to pay for the sessions out of pocket. My insurance doesn't cover medication. I'm on two different types of antidepressants, which together cost about 600 South African rands per month."

23. Alexis, $500 per month out of pocket

Age: 29

Location: New York City, New York

What that covers: Therapy

"I go to therapy once a week with a psychologist. I'm insured, but she's not a network provider, so I pay $500 out of pocket each month. Totally worth it to find a therapist you're comfortable with! Things are tight, but I'd rather be poor and healthy."

24. Jessica, $45 per month after insurance coverage

Age: 20

Location: West Virginia

What that covers: Therapy, medication

"I see a therapist once a week and luckily it is 100% covered by my insurance. The total cost of each appointment is $90. I have a primary insurance that takes care of $65 and my secondary insurance (Medicaid) pays the remaining $25. I spend $45 per month on my medication. I take a monthly injection and a daily pill. My injection is very expensive. It's over $100 without the insurance. My primary covers some and my secondary (Medicaid) does not cover at all so I pay $45 for the injection. The other medication is completely covered.

There have been many occasions where I needed inpatient psychiatric care to keep myself safe but I could not go because I've exhausted my benefits for inpatient care."

25. Mallory, $31 per month after insurance coverage

Age: 20

Location: California

What that covers: Therapy, medication

"I see a therapist to treat my anxiety disorder every six weeks or so, although when I first started treatment three years ago, it was weekly. I have fairly good insurance, however my therapist is not covered under my insurance and I pay out of pocket. At first I paid about $40 per session. However, soon the cost became too high and my therapist said she would accept $25 per session so I could continue my treatment. As a result I pay roughly $25 a month for therapy.

My mother is a health insurance broker and as a result I have an exceptionally good health insurance plan through her job. I pay about $6 for a one month supply of generic Citalopram and the rest is covered by my insurance.

The fact that I can afford my mental health care is pure luck. I happened to find the right people at the right time, and was fortunate enough to have parents willing to cover nearly 100% of the cost. Most people aren't so lucky. Frankly treatment for mental health shouldn't be limited to only those who can afford it."

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