Financial Assistance for Mental Health on Campus: Everything Students Need to Know

By Tina Leger

Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health issues that affect college and university students. Based on the 2021 Winter/Spring Healthy Minds Study, up to 41% of undergrads report having either moderate or severe depression, while 34% of respondents have suffered from an anxiety disorder over the last year.

The reality is that mental health and money go hand in hand. Living with a mental illness makes managing finances harder. However, knowing where and how to get financial aid while you’re in college will save you from financial stress and help you stay on track.

Mental Health Financial Aid: The What

To receive mental health financial support, make sure you’re actually ready. It doesn’t really matter where you expect to get it from – government organizations, nonprofits, or scholarships – the info needed to apply for money help is quite similar here and there. But what roofs it all is proof of your mental health issue. Without a clear diagnosis from a healthcare expert or a mental health assessment given by a personal care provider, no mental health financial assistance will ever be provided. Keep in mind that having certain conditions might be the reason to undergo a range of extra specialized evaluations. For instance, students may be required to provide Medicaid enrollment or proof of insurance to receive financial assistance for mental health. 

Financial Help for Mental Issues: The How

Luckily, students don’t always have to spend a fortune to benefit from mental health recourses. Government, on-campus services, and nonprofits are there to fill your pockets a bit.

  • Government financial aid. Students might be eligible for state and federal government mental health financial help. Basically, the sum of money you receive depends on your income and is provided in the form of virtual or in-person treatments. Students may use Social Security and Disability Insurance federal program that offers finances to those who suffer from mental health conditions. The programs help adults pay for things like apartment rent and food. As an alternative, consider approaching Federally Qualified Health Centers offering the so-called sliding-scale fees. In that case, your compensation will be based on your income and paying capacity.  
  • On-campus mental health services. Many institutions provide mental health services for undergrads that are free, as a rule. Students are welcome to attend support groups, tête-à-tête counseling, mental health workshops, classes, etc. The good news is that the options mentioned above are available both on and offline. Typically, larger schools have more recourses available. If you’re a full-time student, you can avail of the whole scope of financial options, while part-time undergrads might have to approach other services. Usually, most mental health resources can be found in an on-campus center known as CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services). To see if you’re qualified for financial help for mental health, get in touch with the equivalent service in your college.  
  • Nonprofits. There are many mental health nonprofit recourses (local and national) providing mental health financial assistance to undergrads. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) is one of the nation’s largest mental health organizations that offer housing, counseling, crisis services, and financial aid all over the country. The best thing about dealing with nonprofits is that they will provide you with treatment options based on your financial situation. For instance, students may be provided with sliding-scale therapy that helps lower the overall cost of treatment. Consider looking for financial help at nonprofits that deal with specific mental health issues, like the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, the Peace of Mind Foundation, or the National Eating Disorders Association.

Do Insurances Cover Mental Healthcare?

Under the Affordable Care Act, most individual and small group health insurance plans must provide coverage for mental health and substance use disorder services, including rehabilitative and habilitative services. Medicaid may also provide assistance for certain types of mental health services, such as counseling, therapy, and support groups. Although insurance can help, you may still have out-of-pocket expenses that vary based on the service and the expert you deal with. To get the most out of your insurance coverage, take your time to search for the best mental health services that meet your needs.

Mental Health Scholarships for Students in 2023

If you happen to live with a mental condition, attending college can be an extremely trying time. Scholarships are provided to ease the situation in both a mental and financial sense.

  • Jared Monroe Foundation Scholarship Offered by the Jared Monroe Foundation. Provided for high school seniors and college undergrads who are currently receiving treatment for Bipolar Disorder. To benefit from multiple awards worth up to $2,300, your diagnosis must be verified through letters from your healthcare expert.

Application deadline: May 1, 2023.

  • Prochnow Foundation Annual Scholarship. Provided by Prochnow Foundation for high-achieving college students who suffer from mental conditions, the award is worth $1,000.  

Application deadline: June 1, 2023.

  • Quell Foundation Fighter Scholarship. Multiple awards worth up to $1,500 are available for students who have experienced the devastating loss of a sibling, parent, or caregiver to suicide. Besides, there are special options for undergrads being diagnosed with mental health conditions.

Application deadline: April 15, 2023.

How does your college rank in mental health support?

About the Author

Tina is a freelance writer currently obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. She’s a reading addict, a wanderlust soul, an amateur sports fan, and a daydreamer bringing forth a love of writing.

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