When confiding in your friends, family and even your doctor, they may recommend for you to go to counselling for help with your struggles. And it’s true… therapy can be really helpful. After all, where else can you go to get expert help from someone who specializes in understanding human behaviour, relationships and helping people learn to cope more effectively with their emotions and experiences.
But if I’m being really honest, reaching out for help can be hard to do. For you, the obstacles could be worrying about the stigma of mental health problems, sharing your personal issues with a stranger or finding a free babysitter who won’t ask questions about where you will be.
But… you have finally reached out for help, overcoming the obstacles you saw in your path, only to discover that it wouldn’t be an option because of the fees. Whether it’s because you don’t have a job with health benefits, you are barely getting by on the income you have and can’t imagine being able to afford the co-pay, or you have maxed out your coverage for the year, the financial aspect of going to therapy can leave you wondering how on earth you will pay for the help you need.
It can be very hard to know where to look for help, especially if you have continually tried to push down the need for help. You may be feeling a bit desperate at this point and just want the the path laid out for you.
Accessibility to mental health care and, particularly, quick access to appropriate services is vital. As a clinical social worker, our code of ethics along with my personal values bring me to a role of advocacy to ensure fair and equitable access to services and benefits. With all this in mind, I hope this post brings clarification to your search for affordable mental health care and counselling in Nova Scotia.
HOW TO FIND AFFORDABLE COUNSELLING
1. Nova Scotia Health Authority
Your Nova Scotia Health Care Card (MSI) entitles you to access free mental health services through our hospital system. You can self refer to many mental health and addiction services, although some programs require a doctor’s referral. You can find numbers listed for Halifax (HRM) and the rest of the province at this website.
There are also free crisis services you can access through the Mental Health Crisis Line at 1-888-429-8167 or the Kids Help Phone 1-900-668-6868, both of which are available 24 hours, seven days a week.
Did you know if you are experiencing a mental health crisis, you can also be seen in your local emergency department?
2. Work Place Employee Assistance Programs
Check in your employee handbook, look around your office or ask a colleague if your workplace participates in an employee assistance program. If your workplace subscribes to this, you will be able to call a 1-800 number and make a request for services. This counselling is intended to be short term, often 3-5 sessions, so it isn’t appropriate for some kinds of concerns, but sessions are covered at 100% by this workplace program.
3. Look for No-Fee Community Based Services
These groups won’t be the right fit for everyone, but there are many places in the community where you can access counselling for specific concerns at no cost. I’ll list a few places here that might be worth checking out, but you’ll need to call them to find out if you are a right fit for their programs and services.
The Open Door https://www.opendoorcentre.com
TREY (Trauma Recovery for Exploited Youth) http://treynovascotia.org
Avalon (Sexual Assault Centre) http://avaloncentre.ca
Healthy Minds https://www.healthyminds.ca
SOS Family Services https://www.familysos.ca/
Family Service Association Halifax – http://fshalifax.com
Family Service of Eastern Nova Scotia – http://ensfamilyservice.ca/programs/counseling/
Community Mental Health Clinics – https://www.mentalhealthns.ca/resources
4. Find a Therapist Who Offers a Sliding Scale or Low Fee Services
Some therapists offer sliding scale fees or a lower rate under certain circumstances. This is often listed under the FAQ section of their website. As you explore finding a great therapist in Halifax (HRM) look for ones that offer reduced rates.
I’ve recently joined Open Path Psychotherapy Collective as part of my commitment to offering high quality services at a reduced rate for individuals and couples. The premise of Open Path is to connect people in need with a database of providers, similar to Psychology Today, so that finances would not be the limiting factor in choosing their mental health care provider.
If you are a mental health care provider reading this, you can find out more about joining Open Path here: https://openpathcollective.org/open-path-therapists/
https://openpathcollective.org**The database is growing quickly in the USA, but in Halifax there are not many providers as of yet. You’ll find my directory listing and if you decide we are a good fit to work together you can reach out to Open Path to work with me through their program.
Looking for a counsellor in Bedford, Nova Scotia? I’d be pleased to chat with you more about this. You can schedule a free 15- minute consultation call at restorecounselling.janapp.com or reach me directly at (902) 702-7722.
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