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    14 Ways To Prioritize Your Mental Health Without Breaking The Bank

    Taking care of your mental health does not have to cost a fortune.

    If you’re reading this right now, it means you’ve made it through one full year of a worldwide pandemic. Yes, it’s okay to give yourself a little pat on the back for that.

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    It’s also okay to value and protect your mental health just as much as you value your physical health. And if the past year has been tough for you, you're certainly not alone.

    Throughout the pandemic, about 4 in 10 adults surveyed by the US Census Bureau have reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression. And about a third of people said they had occasionally experienced difficulty sleeping and eating as a result of extended isolation or job loss.

    When you think of prioritizing your mental health (or just healthcare in general), dollar signs might instantly pop up in your mind. But taking good care of your mind and even seeking out therapy could be cheaper than you think. Here are 14 lower-cost ways to take care of your mental health:

    Meditation Apps
    Megan Liscomb/BuzzFeed

    1. Insight Timer

    Screenshot of the app showing meditation playlists and sounds / Via

    Insight Timer is a free app for sleep, anxiety, and stress. If you’re new to meditation, this is the perfect app to help. You can search through over 80,000 different guided meditations and make playlists to develop your own customized routine.

    And if, like one in three people, you suffer from mild insomnia, this app can help you work on restless sleep patterns with meditations, music, and sounds to help you relax your mind and body to drift off to sleep.

    2. Headspace

    Screenshot of the Headspace app showing acceptance techniques and a video about happiness
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    Headspace is a meditation and mindfulness app that provides guided meditation, talks, and motivational videos to help you start your day with a clear and level mind. Headspace also offers a free course to help you learn about the basics of meditation. You can get a free trial to make sure you like the app and once that’s over, it costs $12.99 a month for the monthly plan or $69.99 for the year on the annual plan. They also offer a student plan at $9.99 for the year and family plans for up to six people at $99.99 a year.

    3. Calm

    Screenshot of the app showing daily calm, sleep stories, and masterclasses
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    As if the name doesn’t give this app’s purpose away, Calm is intended to help improve your mental health and overall happiness. Whether you’re looking to improve sleep quality and focus or limit stress and anxiety, you’ll be able to access meditations and similar exercises and classes to help you find your inner calm.

    After a seven-day free trial, Calm costs $69.99 annually or $14.99 per month. And if you have health insurance, some companies offer free or discounted Calm memberships as a benefit, so it's worth checking your plan before you sign up.

    Megan Liscomb/BuzzFeed

    4. Community Mental Health Services

    Screenshot showing search for mental health and substance abuse services
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    Visit this resource from the Department of Health and Human Services and enter your zip code to find community health centers that may provide affordable substance abuse and mental health services near you.

    5. Sliding Scale Therapy

    Screenshot of Psychology Today website showing sliding scale therapists in New York
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    Some therapists offer their services on a sliding scale, which means that they adjust their hourly rate based on your income to make mental healthcare more affordable. You can find a sliding scale therapist near you by searching on Psychology Today or GoodTherapy.

    6. Open Path Collective

    Screenshot of the "find your therapist" page on Open Path Collective
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    Or consider going through a group like Open Path Collective, a nonprofit psychotherapy database that can connect you with licensed therapists. The collective is geared toward people who don’t have health insurance or whose insurance doesn’t include adequate mental health benefits. Just pay a one-time registration fee of $59 and you’ll be able to schedule an online or in-person visit with a therapist and pay only $30 to $60 per session.

    Therapy Apps
    Megan Liscomb/BuzzFeed

    7. Talkspace

    Screenshot of the app that says your therapist is waiting to chat with you right now
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    Talkspace is a convenient app that allows you to chat with a licensed therapist whenever you want to. The app offers services like online therapy, couples therapy, psychiatry, and teen therapy while accepting major insurance carriers like Cigna, Humana, and more.

    Get started by completing a brief assessment, then pick your therapist and start receiving therapy services via live video, text messaging, or a phone call. Unlimited messaging therapy starts at just $65 per week without insurance, and they are currently offering discounted rates for healthcare workers.

    8. BetterHelp

    Screenshot of the app showing session scheduling and chat log with a therapist
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    BetterHelp has more than 12,000 licensed professionals available to offer affordable and flexible counseling services. Just answer a few questions to find a therapist who fits your needs and preferences. Then choose how you’d like to communicate (messaging, chat, phone, video).

    Like Talkspace, BetterHelp is a monthly membership that you can cancel anytime. Costs range from $60 to $90 per week based on your location, preferences, and therapist ability. And if that's out of your budget, you may be able to get financial assistance by contacting BetterHelp's support team.

    9. ReGain

    Screenshot of the app showing licensed therapists for couples counseling
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    Whoever said relationships are not easy was definitely telling the whole truth. ReGain is a couples counseling platform where you and your partner can receive therapy at any time and anywhere since you can speak to a licensed therapist virtually.

    Counselors are licensed, trained, and experienced psychologists and licensed marriage and family therapists. ReGain costs around $60 to $90 per week. You get billed every four weeks but can cancel at any time.

    10. Amwell

    Screenshot of the app showing various healthcare providers
    Amwell / Via

    Amwell is a telehealth site that gives you access to different doctors, specialists, and therapists all in one place. Whether you want to find a private therapist or meet with a specialist to discuss more specific needs, you can review bios and credentials for different professionals and book a virtual appointment right on the site. Therapy services start from $99 to $110 per visit and Amwell also accepts insurance, which may lower your cost depending on your coverage.

    Crisis Hotlines
    Megan Liscomb/BuzzFeed

    11. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

    Sometimes life can be tough. Try not to be too hard on yourself, and if you ever need someone to talk to, you can always call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 💚 (artist unknown)

    If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7.

    12. Crisis Text Line

    13. National Alliance on Mental Illness Hotline

    14. YouthLine

    Do you know of another low-cost resource for taking care of your mental health? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

    And for more money tips and tricks, check out the rest of our personal finance posts.