How Much Does Mental Health Therapy Cost? And What About Virtual Therapy?

December 5, 2021

Mental health concerns, particularly amid a pandemic or a stressful situation, are equally if not more important than our physical health. Although most people treat mental health separately, the two are viable concerns. While it’s important to call 911 or go to the emergency room when a tragic illness occurs, what should we do when a mental health emergency happens?

While some believe mental health therapy costs are too steep, and mental health issues can wait–what if we first consider therapy costs and evaluate alternatives or interim solutions such as virtual therapy?

Virtual therapy can provide the readily-accessible support you need to help you quickly gain tools and resources as you wait for an in-person therapy appointment.

So how much does a traditional therapy appointment cost vs. gaining ground early on with virtual therapy assistance? Let’s get some answers.


How Much Does Mental Health Therapy Cost?

Mental health therapy costs vary from one provider to the next, based on several essential factors. Some of those factors include rural vs. urban and region divides, scarcity of professionals, qualifications, and state licensing.

Generally speaking, you should expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $150 per hour for a licensed therapist. In urban areas like L.A, the price might be even higher–upwards of $200. The sky is the limit when it comes to therapy costs, but there are also some affordable options available like virtual therapy.

Because some have been led to believe that our mental self isn’t as important as our physical self, many people don’t even realize how much therapy actually costs. And maybe, they’re too nervous to ask.

Considering the vast benefits talk therapy provides for individuals, and society at large, integrating new solutions like easy-to-use, virtual therapy resources can also offer quick, actionable results. And the fact is that virtual therapy can be more affordable than you may imagine and sometimes even free.

No matter how vital talk therapy is for the health of the nation, there’s little information available about how much therapy costs in one state compared to another. Or what accounts for the vast differences from one provider to the next.


Mental Health Therapy Costs: The Investment

No matter what we have been led to believe, mental health concerns are well worth our time and financial investment. There’s a substantial body of evidence telling us just how much mental health issues cost the U.S. and the world. The statistics are staggering.


About 20% of adults suffer from a diagnosable mental illness each year in the U.S. alone.

One study estimates that 792 million people globally live with a mental health disorder.


Think about the last time you had to take a sick day from work because of your mental health. Maybe it was an exceptionally tough day of loneliness and depression, a peak of anxiety, or a struggle with substance abuse. These are all common reasons why people call in sick to work, but it costs both the individual and the economy a substantial amount. Although there’s a huge economic burden surrounding mental health, there’s also the fact that it’s better addressed than ignored.


The Economic Burden of Mental Health

Meri Davlasheridze and Stephan J. Goetz’s report, “The Effect of Mental Health on U.S. County Economic Growth” offers an analysis of the economic burden of mental health. The research determined mental health sick days “may sap billions of dollars from the country’s income growth.” For the country, one mental health day a month may mean a loss of $53 billion less income annually.

In other areas of the world, it’s more of the same. For example, “The Economic Costs of Mental Disorders,” published in recent years, reported that 165 million people in the E.U. struggled with mental health disorders–like anxiety and mood conditions.


The total costs are hard to estimate, but some experts place the entire global burden of lost income somewhere around $16 trillion.


The financial impacts of mental health issues are so vast they are challenging to grasp. In most places, the financial burden of mental health is much more significant than chronic somatic diseases such as cancer or diabetes. So, what’s more affordable? Let’s learn more.


What’s More Affordable: Psychologist, Therapist, or Counselor?

Although psychologists, therapists, and counselors all provide support within the same sector, there are educational and licensing differences between each that can dictate price.


  • A counselor is the broadest term covering a wide range of services. For example, a therapist may provide professional or community-based counseling services. In most jurisdictions, counselors are not governed by a regional office, and there’s no requirement for education or specific training. Counselors offer a wide range of support services, under many different therapy models.


  • A therapist is usually a protected title. This means there’s a requirement for training and higher education. A regulator governs their individual practices and licensing. Therapists may work with families, marriages, and within social work using behavioral therapy techniques.


  • A psychologist requires a Master’s degree in psychology and is licensed by state regulators. Psychologists may work closely within the healthcare system, and alongside psychiatrists. Usually, their clients have clinically-diagnosed mental health conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorder. They make clinical evaluations and diagnoses of these disorders.


Progressively, the more education required and more regulated the profession, the more expensive it becomes. This reflects the skill and training behind the position, but also the growing scarcity. Psychologist prices are usually higher than a lesser-trained counselor.


Why is Therapy So Expensive?

Several factors influence the answer of “how much does mental health therapy cost?” First, the insurance structure in the U.S. doesn’t mesh well with therapists. Huffington Post recently reported that only 55 percent of American therapists accept insurance payments.


With still more than 28 million people uninsured across the country, as per the most recent statistics, that means many people cannot afford therapy because they don’t have insurance or their insurance isn’t accepted.


Secondly, counselors, therapists, and psychologists’ prices are all reflective of their administrative overhead. The full hourly rate doesn’t get pocketed by the counselor, far from it. As one therapist outlined to the Huffington Post, she has to cover office rent, business insurance, malpractice insurance, office expenses, and payment processing fees, among many other expenses.

But what about another option–a convenient, virtual support app like one of the most reliable free, downloadable ones from ChatOwl? We’ll uncover more for you in the section below.


In-Person vs. Virtual Therapy Costs


While $140 or $150 per session sounds steep for in-person therapy, it helps to cover $2,500 or more a month in rent, the cost of business and malpractice insurance, advertising, office equipment, and credit card processing fees.


No matter how urgent the need for accessible and affordable talk therapy, spaces are limited in accessibility. It’s one of the reasons why more therapy is moving into the online space. Let’s visit more about virtual therapy, free downloadable apps, active support, and resilience strategies.


Mental Health Therapy That’s Reliable and Convenient

There’s a growing number of online therapy options which provide remote counseling sessions via phone, text, simple chat, or video platforms.

These offerings have extremely low overhead, meaning no office rentals or administration costs, making the service much more affordable than in-person meetings. You can expect a fraction of the cost of crisis support and text-based therapy. Plus, you can experience actionable, quick advice, tools, and support.


Finding a Proven Virtual Therapy Solution

Virtual apps offer therapy in a way that serves the individual needs of many at minimal-to-no-cost. And in rural areas where there may be a single psychologist or therapist serving thousands of people, access may be difficult and may take time to obtain an in-person appointment. So, a virtual therapy solution is key in cases like this.

ChatOwl’s virtual app can help you more readily alleviate mental health anxieties and concerns and be on the path to a happy, connected social life.

Although there’s no tried and true way to determine how much mental health therapy costs, virtual therapy can help you feel better much more quickly and affordably with 24-hour accessibility.

Remember ChatOwl is here to help you with ready-to-access, virtual therapy support. Try our free, downloadable app today.



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