By JIM MILLER
To help you through, a variety of therapists, psychologists, and other mental health providers are available to turn to. Most of them are now offering counsel to their clients online through teletherapy services. This will allow you to interact virtually with a therapist from the comfort of your home using only a smartphone, tablet, or computer.
How to Find a Therapist
A good first step to locating a therapist is to ask your primary care provider or family and friends for a referral. You can also look on your insurer’s website for a list of therapists covered under your plan. But be aware that some insurers have limited, or even no coverage for mental health, and many mental healthcare providers don’t participate in insurance plans. (Medicare does cover mental health services.)
If you want some help, online platforms can help match you with a licensed mental health provider. For example, Talkspace and BetterHelp, are virtual services you can access through your phone or computer that contract with thousands of licensed and credentialed therapists.
The process starts with a few questions to assess your goals, your condition, and your preferences, and then matches you with some top therapists in your state.
If you don’t have insurance coverage or can’t afford therapy, you can call or text 211 (or go to 211.org any time for a referral to a provider who offers support at no cost or on a sliding scale, based on your budget.
You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 and ask for a referral to a local resource or provider or ask to be transferred to their “warm line” for nonemergency calls, where you can talk anonymously to a trained professional at no cost.
Another possible option is Federally Qualified Health Centers, which are community-based health centers, some of which may offer teletherapy services at no-cost. To search for centers in your area visit FindAHealthCenter.hrsa.gov.
There’s also a website called Open Path Collective, where therapists offer low-cost online sessions for between $30 and $60.
Interview Your Therapist
Before you start sessions with a therapist, it’s important to make sure he or she meets your needs. If you’re not comfortable with the person, you’re unlikely to benefit from the therapy. So, schedule a call or a video chat to get a feel for each other, and to ask about the therapist’s training, years in practice, specialties, therapy techniques, and fee. Ideally the therapist you choose will be a good personality fit for you and will be within your budget or covered by your insurance. MSN
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of The Savvy Senior.