The Luxury Of Mental Health

If you’ve read my blog, you know I have OCD and anxiety. I’ve written before about how my ability to get into a psychiatrist within a week of my mental breakdown was solely dependent on who I knew and how much I was willing to pay. Sad, but true.

Upon my diagnosis five years ago my psychiatrist would only prescribe meds if I was in therapy. I participated in talk therapy for about six months before the therapist felt I no longer needed it. Honestly, I was happy to stop. The experience of going was, in itself, anxiety inducing. Not every therapist’s style fits every patient. Not what you want from therapy.

Prior to that, I had gone to therapy in college. Again, not life changing, but it was free. You can’t beat free therapy.

Fast forward five years and three kids.

I’m lucky that my family physician will prescribe my meds. I don’t have to wait the four-six months to see a psychiatrist. ‘I’m sorry you’re having a mental crisis but you’re going to have to wait four months to see someone. Let’s just hope for the best while you wait.’ (This is the actual wait time to see a psychiatrist. I didn’t just make it up.)

Meanwhile, one of my best friends is a huge advocate of therapy. She goes regularly and loves it. And often encourages me to go.

I’ve reached a point in my life that I know I would benefit from good therapy. So I looked into it. The average cost of seeing a clinical psychologist in the area is $150/session. Guess how much insurance covers; $0.

On the flip-side, it costs me $12 to get meds for 45 days. It’s a lot easier to justify $12/month compared to $300 for two therapy sessions. And yet, I know the research. I know how much therapy would help.

Three hundred dollars. It’s not an easy decision. It’s budgeting and reworking our schedules to make it fit. But, for me it is a decision I get to make. There are plenty of individuals that desperately need it and it isn’t an option. They simply can’t afford to spend the $150 or take the time off work. Instead, they leave it untreated. Or, if they’re lucky, take the meds.

In his interview on The Hilarious World of Depression, Reggie Osse made the point, “I think the issue is not only that mental illness is a stigma, but mental health is a luxury.” I think this explains why we have a mental health crisis in this country.


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