When You Can’t Afford A Therapist:

You don’t get help.

I was going to title this something along the lines of getting mental health help in South Africa, but just yesterday I experienced something that kind of set me back a little. Let me start off by sharing this story.

At some point last year a friend of mine suggested an online counselor to me, she’s from the USA and she seemed pretty willing to help, she was even willing to drop her prices in order to accommodate my income at that point in time. I was supposed to hear from her in January 2017. I emailed her again yesterday (14 August 2017) only to be told that her slots are full but I could try again in September 2017. Cool, so she didn’t bother with me because her slots (luckily for her) were filled with people for whom she obviously didn’t need to drop her prices. She was kind enough though to refer me to betterhelp.com, they are supposed to be a group of affordable online therapists, BUT before you can even contact them, you have to fill out a form that is supposed to help them place you with the right therapist. It was a very short questionnaire and it went something like this:

Q: Are you currently experiencing anxiety and depression?

A:Yes.

Q: Are you currently experiencing suicidal thoughts?

A: Yes

Q: Are you suicidal?

A:Yes.

Q: How would you rate your current income: good, fair, poor.

A: Poor.

End of questionnaire. What does my income have to do with finding the right therapist for me?

This:

Hello,

We understand it takes a tremendous amount of courage to reach out and ask for help. Unfortunately, based on the answers given when you signed up, we determined that online counseling with BetterHelp may not be the best option for you.

Online counseling is still new and is not the most effective form of therapy for everybody. However, you deserve to get the best help possible, and seeking for help is certainly a step in the right direction. We recommend considering traditional face-to-face therapy and you can find many available therapists in your area by clicking here. If you are in a crisis, or if you need immediate help, please look at these resources.

We are sorry that we couldn’t be helpful to you at this time. Please note that your records, including any information you submitted when you signed up, have been deleted and removed from our database.

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

Thanks,
BetterHelp Team

This was the response I received shortly after completing the question form.

I have been looking for an affordable therapist for the past few years. I have tried researching our local government institutions and the reviews are frightening, and so I figured I have better chance of surviving without attending a government institution. Private institutions are out of the question as they obviously cost a whole lot more than I can afford to spend, and the cheapest therapist I’ve managed to find, costs 2 times more than what is within my price range, and even if I managed to find someone that is technically within that range, it would still be a struggle for me to see them once a week or even once a month.

The point is: I know I need help, I am actively looking for it, and in the meantime I’m picking at all kinds of scabs and wounds in order to find some sort of root or cause for whatever it was that brought me to this point.

I’m not going to go into how I actually feel at this point in time. This is not a pity party blog, but rather – a final attempt at finding someone who may be willing to help, because I am more than willing to work towards getting better.

For the very first time ever, I have found a home and someone who loves me not just on my good days, but on my bad days too, and if not just for myself, I would like to be better for my partner too.

So this is my plea, if you know of someone, or might even know someone who might know of someone, please send a link to this post and I hope that at some point, someone will realize that a human life is worth more than a few dollars/rands/pounds. I don’t even mind being a research subject if that means finding my feet again.

Thank you for your time,

Iva

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2 thoughts on “When You Can’t Afford A Therapist:

  1. One of the things I found during my darkest patches, was that doing something helped. Often I’d end up on facebook in the wee small hours just looking for random conversations with people so I had something to put between me, and the death inside my head that was trying to make itself real. So, any time you need to, you can email me. Vent away. I can hear anything, and while I’m no kind of counsellor, I am a safe person to air things at.

    • Thank you. 🙂 that really means a lot. I think though, that I would rather spill out on here. Who knows? Maybe there will be someone somewhere who can relate and maybe it helps.

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