The following is an article from Wink News
Joey Pellegrino | December 2021
Finding an affordable therapist with or without insurance is a challenge, but one you can overcome, thanks to less costly options that have emerged in Southwest Florida.
After nearly two years of COVID-19 chaos, and now another variant, people have been struggling mentally. People have lost jobs, lost loved ones, and need someone who will listen, but sometimes counseling is not in the budget. Your insurance might pay… or the therapist you want may not even accept it. But that’s where people like Margeaux Philpot come in.
“It is very hard in order to gain access to care if you don’t have the funds in order to get that care,” said Philpot, a master’s student at Florida Gulf Coast University. She’s getting her degree in mental health counseling from FGCU and works at the university’s Community Counseling Center, offering therapy in person or virtually on a sliding pay scale.
“I feel that I am able to make a difference, and I hope to be able to continue to make that difference even after I graduate and go out into the field,” Philpot said.
It costs $25 an hour, or whatever you make hourly, whichever is less. Dr. Alise Bartley, director of FGCU’s Community Counseling Center, oversees the program.
“Research shows that counseling works; it decreases the symptoms, the mental health issues that the client is experiencing,” Bartley said.
Catholic Charities of Collier County also does its best to make therapy accessible to everyone.
“The pandemic created a lot of isolation, a lot of anxiety, a lot of stress, job losses and uncertainty, right at a global level,” said Eduardo Gloria, CEO of the Catholic Charities Diocese of Venice. “We recognize that mental health is as critical as some primary things like housing, food, even education, so we know that if we are working hard to help individuals with some of these primary needs but their mental state is not where it needs to be, then a lot of these efforts tend to fall off.”
When the pandemic hit, Catholic Charities got rid of its sliding scale—sessions are free.
“In this time of need, this can really give you that that peace of mind or that serenity that you were looking for, it can help you heal from those wounds that maybe you’re not understanding what’s going on,” Gloria said.
“We are physical beings and we are mental beings,” Bartley said. “And because of that, we need to be certain that we’re getting the treatment that we need.”
When it comes to children, be sure to check with your local school district; they often partner with outside resources to get children the help they need.