My daughter has anxiety and depression, but I can’t afford to pay for counseling. Help!

Our elder has some practical suggestions — and some reassuring words.

Dear EWC

I am looking to get my daughter some counseling for anxiety and depression. I am currently just starting a new job in a week or so. I have no insurance and was turned down for state insurance. We just moved to a new state. Since then her anxiety and depression have gotten a lot worse. I have checked with places around me, and they all want at least $90 a session, which I cannot afford at this time. Is there any way I can help her now?

Lincoln-Parker replies

Thank you for writing to us. It can be very difficult for a child to move to a completely new area with no one, early on, to call a friend. She is lucky to have a mom who recognizes the signs of anxiety which is pretty normal in such cases. The depression is more concerning, but, but certainly addressable.
Yes, counseling is expensive, but maybe if the symptoms are addressed early enough, the number of sessions can be minimized. Possibly she just needs some tips on adapting to her new environment and getting through the summer while meeting new friends.

For help try NAMI —The National Association on Mental Illness (www.nami.org) offers free assistance to families and teens who need coping assistance. Please don’t let the words mental illness scare you off. They help at all levels and the earlier, the better in addressing anxiety and depression. NAMI may have a local office depending on where you are located. If not they are still there to help with hotlines and advice on where to go and what to do in your local situation.

If you decide to look for a counselor in your area, I suggest you ask your physician or a clergy person for a referral. Sometimes clergy can get you started by doing the counseling themselves, and sometimes spiritual communities have low- or even no-cost services that they can provide themselves.
Do you perhaps live near a city with a school that trains therapists? If so, such schools sometimes offer low- or no-cost sessions with their students, who must log a certain number of hours of supervised therapy in training before they can qualify for a license.

No matter what you do, follow your wonderful instincts and do something for and with her. It would be good if she could get involved in some local activities as soon as possible. I am not a counselor, but I am sure that loneliness can compound depression. Try to coax her into some summer activities that will help her meet new people. That’s easier said than done for someone who is suffering from newness and the associated anxiety, but if she has activities that she likes, convince her to enjoy them without worrying about meeting people. If she is with other people her age who enjoy doing the same things, she will find herself comfortable and suddenly fitting in.

Anything you can do for her or with her to get her to interact with others will add to her comfort zone and will keep her from feeling alone in this new environment. Lastly, let her know that you are there for her, that you understand, and that you are there to talk when she wants. Let her know that you are in this together and that you too share some concerns about the unknowns, but that together you will conquer them.
Keep up the good work, mom.

Letter #: 440539
Category: Children

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