Where can I access low-cost therapy?

Emily Whitton
By Emily Whitton,
updated on Nov 9, 2023

Image shows people putting their hands together.

We’ve rounded up a collection of resources that provide free and low-cost therapy and mental health support 

We’re likely all aware of the benefits of seeking mental health support, but this can be easier said than done. In-person treatment can sometimes be inaccessible and, especially in our current economic climate, unaffordable for many people. Access to therapy can seem like a distant possibility, particularly when we factor in the ongoing pressures on the NHS. Fortunately, there are ways to navigate this, which we’ve outlined below.

If you’re worried you may be in crisis, seek help immediately. Call 999 or go to your nearest A&E department.

Contact the Samaritans on 116 123, or email [email protected]

Employee assistance programmes (EAPs)

Talking about mental health at work has become much more common in recent years. You can speak to HR in confidentiality and they will be able to signpost you to relevant support. You may also have access to an employee assistant programme – an employer-funded service that provides employees with access to counselling services – and/or health insurance providers.

Learn more about EAPs or find a counsellor that accepts EAPs or health insurance.

NHS support 

The NHS should see individuals for consultant-led treatments within 18 weeks of a referral (either from a GP or yourself). Whilst this period can vary, the government is committed to reducing these waiting times. Taking action to get a referral is a huge first step and tends to be the first port of call. In her article, Senior Writer Bonnie explores how to look after yourself whilst you wait for NHS support

Working with trainee therapists 

In her article, ‘I can’t afford therapy - What do I do now?’, our Content Creator and podcast host, Kat Nicholls, explores the possibility of reaching out to training providers to see if any trainee counsellors are offering low-cost sessions. Trainee therapists need to complete at least 200 hours of practice before qualifying, so this may be an option for you.

Education services

If you’re at school, college or university, speak to a teacher or Student Union about accessing counselling sessions. These might be facilitated through the school or they can support you in finding treatment elsewhere. Find out more about accessing therapy through schools with Young Minds.

Support groups 

Support groups can be a helpful way to bridge the gap whilst you await treatment. These might be held voluntarily for free or for a small fee to take part. Community groups and peer support provide the opportunity to meet with other people who are experiencing the same or similar concerns. Whilst this isn’t the same as therapy, they can still be a really useful way to access advice, tips and self-help tools.

You can find peer support groups online or in-person on Counselling Directory – just head to the ‘Events’ page – or find a local group on Mind

Low-cost private counselling

If you're a student, on a low income or an older person, for example, you may be able to receive low-cost private counselling. Many counsellors and therapists offer concession prices. To find a low-cost private counsellor, you can use our advanced search to filter by sessions starting from £40 or under. Browse their profiles to see what concessions our professionals offer.

Reach out to charities

  • Cruse offers free counselling/therapy for people who are going through a bereavement.
  • Anxiety UK offers quick and affordable (low-cost fee) access to therapy for people 18 and over experiencing anxiety.
  • Most Rape Crisis centres offer counselling to women who have experienced sexual violence.

Contact a helpline 

Helplines don’t offer counselling or therapy, but they offer a non-judgemental, listening ear if you just want someone to talk to. If you’re looking to get some support via email, phone or chat service, we’ve put together a list of helplines below.

Find out where to get help.

Useful resources:

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