Illustration of man in an online therapy session
The Winter Issue

The Gift of Mental Wellness: Where to Find Free Therapy Online

Table of Contents

The United States is facing a historic mental health crisis, and yet, therapy is harder to access than ever before. And if money is one of your worries or one of the things bringing you to therapy in the first place, the last thing you want is for it to be a strain on your resources.

We’ve rounded up some of the best free online therapy services and therapy funds extending scholarships for free therapy, including some specifically meant for marginalized communities.

How to Find Free Online Therapy

Free online therapy with licensed professionals may sometimes be difficult to find—your searches may turn up some services that offer peer support instead.

Know that peer support is also valuable, as studies have shown that it can decrease psychotic symptoms, reduce hospital rates, and lower substance use and depression. However, it is not therapy.

Cancer Support Community

Life changes the moment that you or a loved one receives a cancer diagnosis. Both people with cancer and their caregivers need support, and with a cancer diagnosis comes a host of issues that a therapist without specialized training might have trouble with.

Cancer Support Community has 175 affiliates across the United States, and many of them provide brief counseling—usually 6 to 10 sessions.

Give an Hour

Members of the military and veterans deal with a rate of PTSD at twice the rate of the general public, and Give an Hour provides support to active, guard, and reserve service members and their loved ones.

They also provide free therapy for those experiencing natural disasters such as an earthquake or hurricane, as well as those affected by man-made traumas such as shootings.

DRK Beauty Healing

DRK Beauty Healing is a non-profit that offers free (and subsidized) therapy to Black, Latinx, Indigenous, South Asian, East Asian women, and non-binary people of color. The nonprofit was founded by Wilma Mae Basta. It was launched in May 2020 in response to COVID-19 and expanded due to the ongoing racial trauma.

The organization’s founder writes on their website that she founded the organization after a stay in a psychiatric hospital left her without the tools she needed as a Black woman.

Therapy Aid Coalition

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, health care professionals have been under increasing pressure with decreasing resources. Physician and nurse burnout and suicides are at unprecedented levels.

Therapy Aid Coalition was founded to help essential workers, which also includes teachers, gig economy workers, airline employees, and anyone who has not been able to stay home during the pandemic. The coalition has also provided services for those affected by wildfires and shootings.

Medicaid

If you have Medicaid (a federal program that covers healthcare costs for those with low income), you may be eligible for free therapy. In fact, the program is the largest payer in the United States for mental health care services.

In just the way you might search for a therapist with private pay insurance, you can search therapy directory sites to see which therapists accept Medicaid. Once you make contact with the therapist, you will want to verify that the services are free. 

Clinical Trials

If you are comfortable with being part of a clinical trial, you may be able to get free therapy this way by searching ClinicalTrials.gov for a psychotherapy study in your area.

The potential downsides are that you may get something that has not yet been approved/proven, but trials that are open to the public are typically overseen by an institutional review board.

Also, as it may be provided at a university hospital setting, it may be more clinical/sterile than regular outpatient therapy. You may not get treatment at all, as some studies may be randomized controlled trial design and need a control group.

Sometimes this will be of someone who is getting no treatment; other times it may be getting “treatment as usual,” which is the type of therapy the site otherwise provides.

Those interested in psychedelic-assisted therapies may want to look into the many current studies investigating their efficacy. If the treatment is psychedelic or another psychotherapy that includes medication, be sure to consult with your doctor if this is a good idea for you or not.

Therapy Funds

While these are not services or sites directly providing free online therapy, a therapy fund can be thought of like a scholarship but for therapy. If you are part of a marginalized group, there are several options for you.

Loveland Foundation

This foundation, started by writer and entrepreneur Rachel Cargle, provides therapy scholarships to Black women and girls so that they can afford therapy. These grants provide four to 12 sessions with a mental health professional who provides culturally competent services to Black women and girls.

The Loveland Foundation specifically works with therapists who charge lower fees so that the recipients may be able to continue after their free sessions are completed.

National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color

The Mental Health Fund for Queer and Trans Black, Indigenous and People of Color (QTBIPOC) was started in 2017 as a response to the increased violence against these populations following the 2016 presidential election.

The fund provides therapy for QTBIPOC by QTBIPOC and gives recipients up to $100 per session for six sessions with a therapist. 

Finding Local Options for Free Therapy

Here are some other ways for you to find free online therapy near you:

  • Training clinics: Therapists and psychologists typically need to log several thousand hours of working with clients before they can get licensed. Because they are not yet licensed, some of them may offer free therapy. The advantage for you is that they are supervised by a licensed therapist, so you get the benefit of someone else collaborating on your care. Sometimes these will be independently operated clinics; sometimes they will be part of a university.

  • Community mental health clinics: These clinics are usually funded or run by your state or county (or city if you live in a large city). Most community mental health clinics offer services to anyone regardless of the severity of their mental health issue—as long as they meet the criteria for a mental health diagnosis.
5 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Theodora Blanchfield, AMFT
Theodora Blanchfield is an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist and mental health writer.