First Person: Talk therapy is important and should be available to everyone

After suddenly losing my father, Scott, when I was 18 years old, it was a daily struggle to get up every day and go out without having an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was grieving, but it had also grown into anxiety. Finally, after two years, I decided it was time […]
Photo: Kate Playfair
Going to therapy changed my life and luckily, there are affordable options for everyone.

After about a year of seeing different therapists back home in Oshawa, I was able to find one. It changed my life completely. Speaking with someone about how I was feeling lead me to make some changes in my life. This included my decision to move four hours away and go back to school.

I was lucky enough to go to therapy once a week because of my mother’s insurance and her kindness in offering to pay for it. However, what about everyone else who needs to talk to someone and can’t afford it?

Speaking from experience, talking to someone when you’re going through something is beneficial – but not everyone has the benefit of paying for a service that on average costs $150 dollars, according to Cedarway Therapy, a group that offers affordable counselling.

Struggling with a mental illness or just needing to talk to someone is something that people deal with every day in their life.

With inflation rates, rent and the price of groceries continuing to go up, paying out of pocket for more a week for a therapy is out of the question. So what do you do? For Algonquin College students and others here in Ottawa, there are options that can lead to affordable care.

Algonquin College offers counselling on campus, including 24/7 crisis support for students who need to talk. Counselling Services offers confidential and profession counselling. There is one-on-one counselling that is offered through the service and if you’re not comfortable speaking one-on-one, group sessions are also offered for students who may be in a similar situation as you.

“Students come to counselling for a range of reasons,” said Jasmine Cady, a registered psychotherapist with Counselling Services. “Common issues include anxiety, depression, relationship issues, loneliness and life transitions.”

These services are offered at no additional cost for Algonquin College students as they are included in the price of your tuition. Counselling Services says that the first step is to reach out to them and book a consultation to see if you could benefit from counselling.

“You can call or email the Welcome Centre or visit us, in person, in the Student Commons on the third floor above the Starbucks,” says Rebecca Valerio, manager of the Welcome Centre.

The wait time for an appointment can vary depending on the time of year, but the Welcome Centre offers resources on the website like self-help apps and online tools to help you improve your mental health immediately.

For students who might want to look-off campus, there are other options as well.

“The Affordable Therapy Network was founded in 2016 to help bridge a gap in Mental Health Care accessibility,” says the Affordable Therapy Network website.

The network offers a wide range of services such as online therapy, in-person, couples therapy, and group/peers therapy. The consultation is done right online by asking questions about your every day life, what kind of counselling might you be interested in, and what struggles you might be going through.

The cost of these services could be as low as $25 per session, depending on what you need

There are many other affordable therapy companies out there, but these are the ones that stood out to me that could really make a difference in your every day life

I am no longer in weekly counselling, but I now know that I can go back any time I need to. That has made a difference in my life.

Getting on the path to becoming a happy and healthy person requires you to take the first step. It also comes down to being patient too. I went through three different therapists before finding the right match. The good thing about services like these is that they know that not everyone can work with anyone. There are a range of therapists who work for these companies and they are waiting to help.

They all want to help you become or get back to being you.

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