Community health centers have grown significantly since the ACA and Mental Health Parity Acts were passed, as have the number of mental health visits they provide. Community health centers include both county health departments and private non-profit organizations. Over three quarters of community health centers provide mental health services.
Community health centers may provide outpatient individual and group therapy, medication management, mobile crisis units, mentoring programs and case management services. Case management includes help evaluating mental health providers, coordinating care among providers and identifying affordable mental health care resources.
In addition to providing affordable therapy and other mental health care services, community health centers are located within underserved and low-income communities, making it convenient to get the care you need.
County health departments provide healthcare, including mental health and sometimes substance abuse care for free or nominal cost. Some private non-profit centers accept Medicaid and Medicare and/or receive grant money from state health departments, while others receive funding primarily from donations and private insurance.
Because they are non-profit, the cost per session tends to be lower than private practitioners and they frequently offer sliding scale therapy based on income.
In fact, according to the National Association of Community Health Centers, community health centers charge 41% less than comparable care elsewhere.
You can find community health centers near you with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s (SAMHSA) Mental Health Locator.
Once you have identified community health centers near you, contact them to see if they provide mental health services, which services they provide and if there are any restrictions on whom they serve.