Affordable treatment for mental health
How to get the best treatment for your mental health when you're on a budget
If you’re suffering from a mental health problem like depression or anxiety, or even if you’re just feeling a bit low, it’s really important that you seek help for this. Maybe this help is simply having a chat with a trusted family member or friend, but you may need some professional or medical help as well.
There is a common perception that care for mental health is expensive and can be difficult to access. It is true that there are some treatment options out there that are costly. However, there are plenty of free and low cost options out there, and some of these may be of massive help to you. Here are some options for looking after your mental health when money is an issue:
Pieta House provides therapy sessions to people who are in suicidal distress and people who are self-harming. They have 13 centres located all around Ireland.
What services do they provide? Pieta House provides face-to-face therapy sessions to people in suicidal distress and those who engage in self-harm. You can find contact details for your local Pieta House here. Simply call them to book an appointment.
How much does it cost? Counselling sessions with Pieta House are completely free of charge.
Childline is a free and confidential listening service for children and young people. You don’t need to be mentally ill or in distress to get in touch with Childline - even if you just want a chat, they are there to listen.
What services do they provide? They provide phone, text and online listening services. You can contact Childline by phone on 1800 666 666, text by texting ‘Talk’ to 50101, or chat online by visiting their website. You can contact them 24 hours a day.
How much does it cost? Childline is 100% free of charge.
Traveller Counselling Service
Traveller Counselling Service is a mental health service run specifically for Travellers. You can talk to them about depression, anxiety, bereavement, or other issues.
What services do they offer? It is a face-to-face counselling service, located in Phibsborough, Dublin City Centre, Bray, Coolock, Blanchardstown and Limerick. You can find out more on their website.
How much does it cost? It is free of charge.
Samaritans is a listening service for anyone who is in distress or upset about something. You do not have to be suicidal or depressed to call Samaritans, although this is one of the things that they may help with.
What services do they provide? They provide both a phone and e-mail listening service. You can contact them by telephone on 116 123 or e-mail them on firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much does it cost? In the Republic of Ireland, their phone and text service is completely free of charge. However, do be aware that if you are in the UK, there is a charge for their phone service.
Niteline is a phone listening service, specifically for college students. It is run by and for the students of DCU, NCAD, RCSI, TCD, NUIM, UCD, and their affiliate colleges. You don’t have to be depressed or have a mental illness to call, but this is one of the things you may call about.
What services do they offer? Niteline is a phone service. You can contact them by calling 1800 793 793. They are open every night of term between 9pm and 2:30am.
How much does it cost? Calls to Niteline are totally free of charge.
Aware is an information service for people suffering from depression and anxiety. If you are feeling anxious or depressed, you can contact them for support, and further information on appropriate treatment.
What services does it offer? Aware offers listening and information services on both telephone and email. You can contact them by telephone on 1890 303 302, or via email on email@example.com. They also provide free support groups that offer a chance to talk openly about depression and anxiety with others who may be going through similar experiences. You can find a list of your local support groups here.
How much does it cost? Aware’s e-mail and support group services are completely free of charge. Their phone service is charged at standard local and network rates.
Shine is a listening and information service for people suffering from depression or anxiety and their family members. You can contact them for further information on mental illness, or just for a listening ear.
What services do they offer? Shine offers an e-mail counselling service, by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Shine aims to respond to emails within a 24 hour period between Monday and Friday. All e-mails are answered by a trained psychotherapist. They offer a phone listening and information service, by calling 1890 621 631.
How much does it cost? Shine’s e-mail service is completely free of charge. Their phone service is charged at standard local and network rates.
Jigsaw is a support service offered by Headstrong, a youth mental health organisation. They have 10 centres in different locations around the country. You can find where you nearest Jigsaw centre is by visiting their website jigsaw.ie
What services do they offer? Jigsaw offers one-on-one support sessions, where you can get advice and support about your mental health. These sessions are confidential and non-judgemental and you can make an appointment through their website.
How much does it cost? All Jigsaw services are free of charge.
GROW / GROW Young Adults
GROW facilitates support meetings all over the country for people suffering with mental illness. They also provide meetings specifically for young adults.
What services do they provide? GROW arranges meetings in which attendees learn a practical psychology of mental health, known as the GROW Program. Members provide mutual support in undertaking certain tasks that encourage a healthy change in thinking, behaviour and/or relationships. You can find a list of locations for their young adult groups here and their regular groups here. They also provide a phone listening service by calling 1890 474 474.
How much does it cost? GROW meetings are completely free of charge. Calls are charged at LoCall rates.
MyMind is a counselling and therapy service based in Dublin, Cork and Limerick.
What services do they provide? MyMind provide a wide range of counselling and therapy services, including cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness and psychoanalysis. They will help you decide which option is right for you. They offer face-to-face and online sessions.
How much does it cost? MyMind offers reduced rates for students, unemployed people, and part-time employed people. Their rate for students and the employed is €20 per session, and their rate for part--time employees (up to 20 hours per week) is €30 per session. If you’re on a very limited budget, this may still seem quite expensive. However, as their website points out, they are significantly less expensive than the average counselling sessions. Check out their website mymind.org
MoodGYM is an online Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programme.
What services do they provide? MoodGYM provides a free online course in which you complete various exercises over an extended period of time, that aim to encourage positive thinking habits, improve overall mental health, and build up your ability to cope with upsetting or stressful situations.
How much do they charge? MoodGYM costs between €25-€30 ($39 AUD).
Moodjuice is a website that offers information and advice to anyone experiencing troublesome thoughts, feelings and actions.
What services do they provide? Moodjuice provides various self-help guides covering conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress, panic and sleep problems.
How much do they charge? Moodjuice is completely free of charge.
College / School Counsellors
If you’re a student, there will be free counselling services at your school or college.
What services do they offer? Generally, they will offer free a counselling service, that can help you cope with a range of issues, including depression, anxiety, or other mental illnesses. At college, sometimes there may be waiting lists for these, but if it’s an emergency, let them know, and they may be able to see you sooner.
How much do they charge? These counselling services are nearly always free of charge to students.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)
Treats young people up until the age of 16 or 18 if in full time education.
What services do they offer? You have to be refereed to CAMHS by your GP. They provide counselling, therapy, medication, speech and language therapy.
How much do they charge? This is a free service. For more information on attending CAMHS read our factsheet: Attending a CAMHS service
Helplink.ie (Helplink Support Services)
Helplink is a non-profit organisation that provides counselling services (for free or at low costs) online and by phone nationwide and also internationally.
What services do they offer? Helplink provides online or by phone discounted counselling services for students nationwide, 7 days a week: 9 am to 9 pm Monday to Friday & 12 to 6 pm Saturdays/Sundays. They also provide a free online counselling service for Irish people who go abroad called Cabhrú; also available 7 days a week. All their counsellors are Garda vetted, qualified (minimum level 8) and insured.
How much does it cost? The discounted counselling appointment fee is €30 for full-time students and also part-time counselling students. You will need to provide proof of your status (i.e. student card) to avail of this rate.
Low cost counselling and therapy.
Many counselling and therapy centres offer free or low cost services, depending on your financial situation. A great resource for finding counselling services in your area is Counselling Directory. They list all the counselling services available in your area, some of which will have low-cost options.
Medical cards and GP cards.
It is worth noting that depending on your income or the income of your parent/guardian, you may be eligible a medical card or a GP card. For more information on how to apply or check eligibility for these, check out this info here. Certain counselling services will provide free or reduced cost services if you hold a medical card. If you are prescribed antidepressants or other medication, a medical card may also cover the cost of this. A GP card will not cover the cost of medication or counselling, but it will cover your GP visits, which can be a big help.