Friend Cannot Afford Therapy

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I am fourteen years old. I have a gal friend who is 29 years old and she has been dating my uncle for 5 years. She really and truly loved him(or she thought so) but he broke up with her. It's all very complicated since he never loved her back. But it seems on the surface that she is taking it very well. I know better, I saw that she was cutting herself and drinking at night. I don't know what to say to her to help. It would be different if she was just depressed-that is understandable and may have just taken time. But she is cutting and drinking. It's not bad but it might get that way. She can't afford a therapist or anything. SO how can I help her other than just being a support stand? Please help
Signed: Friend Cannot Afford Therapy

Dear Friend Cannot Afford Therapy,


The best thing you can do for your friend is to encourage her to get help for herself from trained professionals. Let her know that things can get better, but that to help her situation improve it is important that she take some steps to reach out to others for help. If your friend is unsure where to go for help, we have provided a list of resources below.


  • If your friend has health insurance, she can contact her insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health/substance abuse treatment providers. With in-network providers your friend will only have to pay a copayment for visits with a therapist and/or psychiatrist. If your friend lives in northern New Jersey she can also call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area she can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals.


  • If your friend does not have health insurance, there are many hospitals and clinics which offer no-cost therapy or therapy based on a sliding scale where payment is dependent upon a person’s income. Your friend can contact hospitals and mental health agencies in the area to find out what is available.


  • New Jersey offers a program called Charity Care, which offers health insurance to those who are uninsured or underinsured. To get more information about Charity Care, your friend can contact 1-866-588-5696. If your friend does not live in NJ, she can contact her local hospital or state government agency to find out what insurance assistance programs are available in her state.


  • Your friend can contact the Self-Injury Hotline (information only, not a crisis line) at 1-800-DON’T-CUT (1-800-366-8288) for more information.

  • Your friend can contact the National Institute on Drug Abuse & Alcoholism at 1-888-644-6432 for more information.

  • Your friend can attend AA meetings in her area. These meetings are generally free to attend, and will provide some support and guidance for your friend in terms of addressing her drinking issues.

  • In northern New Jersey, your friend can contact First Call For Help at 2-1-1 or 1-800-HELP-555 for referral information in her area. If your friend lives outside of NJ, she can do an online search for First Call For Help and the name of her state, as this service is available in areas outside of NJ.

As a friend, the most you can do is encourage this person to seek help and give her some resources of where she can turn for assistance. But in the end, it is your friend’s responsibility to make the choice to get help. And if she decides not to make that choice, realize that it is not your fault and not your job to fix the situation. And if you find that you are getting too caught up in your friend’s situation and problems, FX strongly suggests that you talk to a trusted adult about the situation and get some support and guidance for yourself to ensure that you are handling your friendship with her in a way that is healthy for you.  

Signed: TeenHealthFX