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We’ve tested, researched, and gathered some of the best affordable online therapy options to help you choose the right service for you.

Mental health emergency

Some of the mental health care options listed below may not be suitable in an emergency. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health emergency and is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.
  • Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
  • Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988.

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Finding a therapist is a huge step in managing your mental health. But unlike a cold or the flu, mental health conditions — such as anxiety and depression — can take time to heal.

This means that finding treatment via support groups or talk therapy can be a commitment. Depending on your budget and health insurance coverage, it can also be costly.

Even with health insurance, you may still need to pay up front for therapy. Plans with high deductibles won’t cover any medical costs until the deductible has been met. Until that time, you’ll need to pay out of pocket for your appointments.

Unlike a $10 to $30 insurance copay, many therapists may charge between $65 and $150 per session. In most areas, the cost of therapy is $100 to $200 per session.

Luckily, cost-effective mental health services are available.

To help you get started, we’ve provided a list of affordable mental health care options.

CostInsuranceType of therapy available
Online-Therapy.com$39.95 to $79.95 per weeknot acceptedvirtual
Talkspaceaverage $30 copay with insuranceyes; covered by many plans, FSA/HSA also acceptedtext, video, and audio messages
BetterHelp$65 to $90 per weekno, but may be eligible for reimbursementmessaging, live chat, audio, and video
Calmerry Online Therapy$50 to $80 per weeknot acceptedtext, live video
Open Path Psychotherapy Collective$40 to $70 per sessionnot acceptedin-person or online
FindTreatment.govfreenot needed or acceptedconnects people with treatment options
Mental Health Americafreenot needed
Crisis Text Linefreenovirtual
Amwell$99 to $199 per sessioncheck with networkvideo
Grow Therapyvaries by professionalyesin-person, online, or both

Our experts have carefully researched and vetted over 35 online therapy platforms to make sure everything we feature meets our standards. We fact-check health claims, evaluate ingredients, and look into each brand’s reputation before sharing products on Healthline.

Additionally, our team has personally tested 8 online therapy platforms out of the 35 we have vetted.

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To narrow down our list of the best affordable therapy options, we took a few factors into account:


Some affordable therapy platforms are available online, allowing users to talk with their counselor from the comfort of their home. However, this isn’t the most accessible option for everyone, so we made sure to include an array of directories, apps, support groups, and more.

Mental health expertise

Each platform, site, and app on our list is guided by folks who are well-versed and trained to offer mental health assistance.

In 2022, we conducted an online therapy study to find out how and which platforms were most used and what factors drew them to those particular online therapy services.

Medical review

Our team of medical experts carefully vetted each option in our roundup, and a mental health professional from Healthline’s Medical Network reviewed this article to provide insights, offer advice, and verify that all information is correct.

Nothing stand out to you on this list?

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Even if you find a platform or mental health professional in your budget, they might not be the best fit for you.

It’s important to know this is completely OK and actually quite normal. It can take some time to find someone who is a great match for you, whether that means they’re culturally competent, are a person of color, are familiar with specific traumas, or have different specialties.

You’ll know your therapist is a good match when they consistently make you feel comfortable and welcomed.

If you don’t think they’re a good match, communicate that to them by asking them not to schedule another appointment. This can be done face to face or over a text, call, or email.

You can find free or low cost therapy in a number of different places. The following list includes resources for one-on-one appointments, group therapy, online offerings, and more.

  • Community clinics and resources: Free therapy may be available in your local community. To find a clinic in your local area, contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine or go to MentalHealth.gov. Places like community centers, hospitals, and schools may run free programs, like support groups. Publicly funded state-run services may be another option for free or low cost therapy.
  • Sliding-scale therapists: These professionals adjust their hourly fee to make therapy more affordable for the client. Finding this therapist may be a good option if you need to pay out of pocket, but make sure to check if the therapist is accepting sliding-scale clients. If you need help for a specific condition, search for a specialist who is trained in the area you’re looking for and is able to slide their scale.
  • Local colleges and universities: Many colleges and universities with mental health practitioner programs may have clinicians in training who offer reduced rates. These clinics are usually open to the public, and they offer sliding-scale fees that can be as low as $1. These clinicians in training typically work under the supervision of experienced professionals.
  • In-network mental health professionals: If you have health insurance, call your insurance to find out whether they cover mental health service. If they do, ask for the contact information of local professionals who accept your insurance plan. Many online therapy services take insurance, but it’s important to double-check if everything is covered, or if there are copays or deductible amounts.
  • Employee assistance programs: Your employer may offer therapy services for free through an employee assistance program. This voluntary program is set up by a workplace to provide a number of confidential services. These are intended to help with any issue that affects your mental or emotional health that may also affect your work performance. To find out what services are available, contact your human resources department.

If you want or need to talk with a mental health professional but are worried about being able to afford it, you do have options.

Low cost therapy may be available through social services, nonprofits, and universities, while some platforms offer financial aid or sliding scales.

If you’ve found a therapist you’d like to start seeing, you can contact them to see whether they accept your health insurance. Some of these costs may be covered through your insurance.

If you have health insurance, there’s a chance your plan may cover some or all therapy costs.

To find out if your insurance covers therapy or mental health care, log into your plan’s website, which should contain information about your coverage. You can also call your insurance company or even chat with your company’s HR department.

If you find a therapist you want to talk with, you can also ask if they accept your insurance.

The average cost of therapy largely depends on the counselor, how often and long your sessions are, and where you’re located.

Generally speaking, an hour-long therapy session can cost $65–$250.

The frequency of your therapy appointments depends on your goals, why you’re in counseling, and what your therapist thinks.

You may see your therapist once a week, biweekly, or even once a month, but you can always talk with them about increasing or decreasing the frequency of your appointments.

If you can’t afford traditional therapy, there are other low or zero-cost options available in many communities. For example:

  • Sliding scale therapists are psychotherapists, psychologists, and social workers who change their hourly rate according to what their clients can afford.
  • Post-secondary institutions that offer mental health practitioner programs may offer reduced rates to the public to see their clinicians-in-training.
  • Community mental health clinics are often low cost or free.

Therapy can be expensive for many. The main reason for this is the fact that therapists must have a master’s or a PhD, which requires years of costly education and training. The out-of-pocket costs that often go into running a practice add up quickly. For example:

  • office space
  • licensing fees
  • insurance fees
  • professional association fees
  • marketing
  • continued education
  • administration and prep time
  • vacation, sick, and parental leave

Most therapy will cost the same whether it’s in person or online. However, you might save money in other areas related to seeing a therapist in person, like costs for transportation or child care.

Finding low cost mental health professionals can be a challenge at first, but there are plenty of resources available. Remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and it shouldn’t have to take a toll on your finances.

If you need help right away, consider looking for a support group or calling your local university. If you have a digital device and an internet connection, telehealth services may also be available to you.

Choosing the right mental health professional doesn’t have to be expensive, and the benefits of having support will be well worth it in the long run.

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