Child Public Mental Health Resources
If you do not have employer-sponsored health insurance, you may qualify for Medicare or Medicaid services. The mental health agency in your state public health agency should be able to tell you how to access mental health services in your state. In publicly funded mental health centers, such as those run by state, city, or county governments, the cost of many services is calculated according to what you can afford to pay. This is called a sliding scale, or sliding fee, basis of payment. In addition, states, which often work with federal programs such as Medicaid, provide financial assistance to eligible individuals or families. Information about medical and healthcare assistance is available at your county/city social services departments, health and human services department, or Social Security office.
How do I find out what mental healthcare services my state public health department offers?
On the Web, you can find contact information for your state's department of insurance at
One advantage of the public mental health system in many states and cities is the dedication and experience of the psychiatrists working there. Although they are often extremely overworked and underpaid in comparison to their counterparts in private practice, they see such a wide variety of patients, they often have a depth of perspective on mental disorders that is unrivaled in other clinical settings. As a parent accessing the public mental health system, you should talk with other parents in your situation to determine those offices and doctors with the best reputations for competence and approachability.
There are strict eligibility criteria for access to public health services. To determine your eligibility for these and other government programs, contact the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS),
Access to Low-Cost Therapy and Medications
Many therapists and community-based mental health clinics offer sliding-scale fees for their services. This means that your payment is determined on the basis of your ability to pay. You can scan the phone directory in your local community to find this type of service; it will usually be called a “community mental health clinic” or simply “low-cost therapy.” Even if these mental healthcare providers don't provide CBT for your child's treatment, they may offer individual therapy for you and family therapy.
If you don't have insurance coverage to cover medication for treatment of your child's OCD, you may be able to obtain prescribed drugs at a reduced price. There are drug discounts associated with some professional or other membership organizations such as the American Automobile Association (AAA). You can find information about prescription assistance at Partnership for Prescription Assistance (1-888-4PPA-NOW;