I am honestly so grateful for the outpouring of support since my recent post on the importance of mental health — the response was what I wanted. Not people saying they were so sorry for me, but instead that it moved or encouraged them to seek out help themselves. A number of people expressed to me the desire to begin therapy but that it was just too expensive, or that their insurance didn’t cover it. Fortunately, I actually had a solution!
When I finally decided it was time to begin seeing a therapist I had recently started a new job, which meant I had to wait 3 months before my insurance benefits were available. I knew that if I put off getting a therapist for another few months, then that would lead to me pushing it off another few months and so forth. I recalled an e-mail that I received through a google group for Howard University Alumni in NYC that suggested finding black therapists using Open Path. I looked into it and was pleased to find that Open Path is a collective of mental health professionals dedicated to providing in-office mental health care at an incredibly reduced price. A lot of the therapists I found prior to Open Path charged at minimum around $120 a session, which, if you’re really struggling and need to see someone often is insanely steep. Open Path offers the same treatment for between $30 – $50 (or $30 – $80 for couples and families)!
Along with it being so affordable, I love that when doing a search for therapists you can see photos of them, because I specifically wanted a black woman. You know, someone who can actually relate to me as I cry about the woes of constantly having to code switch and dealing microagressions from my work peers.
To sign up, you fill out an application form that inquires about some of your major monthly expenses, as well as your income. Once this is complete, you will then be prompted to pay a one-time $49 lifetime membership fee, which means that in the event that you need to switch therapists for any reason, you can do so without any added costs. Then you’ll pay whatever it is for your session rate at the time of each meeting. I personally have found Open Path to be extremely helpful and it has an extensive network of mental health professionals nation-wide — so no matter where you live, you can be seen. Some of the therapists even offer remote sessions via video conference or over the phone.
Open Path is based on an honor system, so they don’t ask for pay-stubs and bills etc.. However, that doesn’t mean to sign-up if you make 6-figures, have bomb health insurance and are just too cheap to pay full price. Open Path makes mental health care affordable for all and I talk about it constantly whenever anyone brings up not being able to see someone.
When signing up I was worried that perhaps because I am paying so little per session that my therapist wouldn’t be as immersed or invested in me like her other patients. However, I feel the complete opposite. I was fortunate enough to have found someone who truly cares about what I have to say and even checks in outside of our sessions if she knows I have something big coming up. It’s been such a blessing, and I never would have known until I tried.