Mental health concerns: Worrying how to afford expensive therapy? Here’s a way...
Living in the times of pandemic, there would have been many a moments when you would have come across the need to talk about your state of mind with someone. But, not everyone gets the necessary ear, and the medical attention. Even if we surpass the taboos, it’s not an easy task to afford medical counselling in today’s day and age, when a session of an hour or so costs nothing less than a bomb. Especially if you are one who has been facing a financial crunch in business or has had to face a salary cut recently, this expense will pinch your pocket all the more, and compel you to place it as an unnecessary expenditure.
Mental health awareness has been under the spotlight since lockdown, and since the recent death of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, many have been talking about the exuberant cost of sessions conducted by mental health practitioners. So is there an alternative?
Many NGOs and mental health professionals have come forward to offer counselling for free or at a reduced fee. “We have made all our services such as therapy, webinars for individuals and organisations, free of cost during the ongoing period. We recognise that the lockdown came with a lot of financial, emotional and interpersonal challenges for people and this is our way of contributing to the society,” says Harleen Kaur, psychologist and program manager, Manas Foundation. The non-profit organisation had programmes to make mental health affordable in the pre-lockdown period too, and Kaur informs, “We keep a day of the week for free sessions, on appointment basis. We also have a student discount as many youngsters have been seeking help from us, and their families do not support or know about their child’s mental health issue.”
For those who don’t want to go to a therapist yet unbottle emotions by expressing, a vernacular platform, available for anonymously sharing your emotional issues and problems online is VentAllOut (www.ventallout.com). “It’s very important for one to share their frustration in small bits before they become a volcano and erupt. Like many breaking rooms that have come up in the city — where you can thrash things to release frustration — we have made a free online vernacular platform where you can do the same by sharing whatever you wish, and yet remain anonymously. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, people can share here without the fear of getting judged or feel bias or facing trolls because everything is anonymous,” says Sumit Mittal, founder of the platform.
“Those who want to go a step forward than just expressing their emotions, can check with the experts we have on our platform, who can provide mental health facilities; and the first 15 minutes are free,” adds Mittal, sharing, “We have also launched a cash back for users who write on our platform as we want to encourage sharing and expression. We have seen in many a cases that when a person regularly expresses their emotions in a healthy way, the need for a therapy in the longer run reduces.”
There are individual psychologists who have been offering free counselling services to those from the marginalised communities, and even those who are unable to afford the cost of therapy sessions. Talking about the recent report of death of four minors being linked to Rajput’s demise, Vibhuti Sahai, co-founder of non profit organisation, Gleeful Soul, says, “Children take celebs as role models and get influenced by their actions, and try to imitate them. Therefore it’s important for parents to explain which behaviour is negative and which is positive and mouldable. Unhealthy over analysis of such incidents must be refrained from, which in turn will stop an individual from justifying such an act and from relating to it. Also, personal consumption of disturbing news must be monitored as over consumption of sensitive news leads to disturbing emotions and thought processes. And every problem has a solution; open channels of communication so that expression can take place.”
Sahai adds, “We have been giving free counselling sessions to people who cannot afford paying for an average fee that a mental health expert charges in a metropolitan city like Delhi. Mental health must be accessible and affordable to all. Many LGBTQ, and from various economic strata of society seek therapy via our Skype handles. And the best part is that they can choose to remain anonymous, if they wish so.”
Author tweets @FizzyBuddha