How to get counseling while unemployed?
October 20, 2010 8:58 AM   Subscribe

How can I seek treatment for possible depression while I'm unemployed?

I am concerned that I may be depressed. I know I have self-esteem issues, and I struggle with procrastination. I think these things are affecting my motivation, and I'd like to deal with them.

However, I am unemployed, and have no health insurance that would help pay for counseling or meds, if I get prescribed any.

I live in a rural area in southern California. I do have unemployment insurance, but it just barely covers my expenses, so I cannot afford much out-of-pocket.

How can I find some help with this?

Temp e-mail:
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
In the interim to finding the health care you need, get some exercise! Just a walk outside around the block. Just for a bit.
posted by matty at 9:07 AM on October 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Go to and navigate through the Mental/Behavioral Health links to California, your county, and then services to get relevant phone numbers. Also try

Tell the mods what county you're in and we can be more helpful.
posted by SMPA at 9:22 AM on October 20, 2010

If you're female, try the YWCA in your area; they usually have resources to help women, including free or sliding-scale counselling. If you're male, maybe the YMCA has similar? Not sure.
posted by The otter lady at 9:27 AM on October 20, 2010

If you're in San Bernardino their county mental health services has a directory of providers here. CSUSB also has a list here and they denote which counseling center does sliding scale payments.

Otherwise do a search for 'COUNTYNAME+county+mental+health+services' or 'COUNTYNAME+county+mental+health+services+sliding+scale'.

There are resources to assist you. Please feel free to MeMail me if you want/need any help.
posted by elsietheeel at 9:28 AM on October 20, 2010


If there is a major hospital in your area (preferably a research hospital) typically it's fairly easy to find an investigational study which you might join. This is totally free (and in some cases you are paid for your time) and typically includes medication (the study meds) and in some cases counseling. At the very least you'll go through a full psych workup which may include a diagnosis. This approach worked for me in the past although my circumstances were a bit different that what you describe.
posted by eggman at 9:34 AM on October 20, 2010

In the meanwhile, it might also be useful for you to look into coping skills for people with ADD. I wish you well.
posted by lover at 9:39 AM on October 20, 2010

While you are looking, you might want to check out some books on depression. One type of book would be something like Undoing Depression which can tell you more about what depression is and the best treatments for it. Some of these treatments you can do on your own: Three of the most important are get exercise, engage in social interaction, and get enough sleep, but not too much. Often times if you are depressed these are easier said than done, but if you can take steps to do one or more of these things it can help a lot. - many of which you can do own your own. Anyway, one example of this type of book would be Undoing Depression.

Another type of book would be a workbook like Overcoming Depression, which guides you through exercises as well as providing information about strategies to combat depression.
posted by hijol at 10:09 AM on October 20, 2010

hijol has a good point. If you can get past any bias you may have against self-help books, cognitive behavioral therapy workbooks might help. I've used Feeling Good by David Burns. But it won't help unless you actually buckle down and do the exercises.

Also I'm sure that this will cause eyerolling, but I haven't been depressed since I started taking 2 grams of fish oil a day (extra bonus - it lowered my total cholesterol and raised my HDL). Vitamins B12 and D3 help too.
posted by elsietheeel at 10:21 AM on October 20, 2010

Disclaimer: I'm on record around here as having had a wee tantrum about the ineffectiveness of fish oil, and the difficulty of exercise when depressed. However..

I take fish oil for another condition, and it does seem to have some benefit with respect to my episodic depression.

That's not just anecdata. Clinical trials have shown it to be effective. Cite.

Having said that, when I'm able to do it, I find regular exercise (and the good diet necessary to sustain it) to be much more effective.
posted by Ahab at 11:37 AM on October 20, 2010

If there is a university near you that offers clinical psychology or counseling psychology PhD programs, they often have "training clinics" where the students work to get their training hours...Often the therapy is free or nearly free, so that's an option to look in to.
posted by mjcon at 2:39 PM on October 20, 2010

Some generic antidepressants are covered by the walmart $4 for 30 days prescription program. That should be easy to afford if one of those meds will work for you.
posted by DarkForest at 3:35 PM on October 20, 2010

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