There are plenty of news articles, social media posts and people out there saying that you should ask for mental health help if you need it. You don’t have to do this crazy world alone. Deciding you want to seek help is a great first step.

But oftentimes “just call us” can seem like an uphill battle to the person needing help. The motivation to make that call and set the first therapy appointment can come with a lot of mental and motivational barriers.

Here are some barriers you might be facing in regards to actually asking for help. Read below to see if one fits you (or a loved one) and we’ll provide an action item for you if that barrier is in your way.

Together we can get through this and take that step to getting help.

Reason #1: I don’t have time.

Have you ever thought you just don’t have time to meet with a therapist and don’t even have time to make the initial phone call? You aren’t alone. However, you have to remember to put yourself first. If you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of others in your life. So pick up the phone and make that short phone call.

If you are calling JFS, you can call at any time at 210-302-6808 (even if you think about it at 11 p.m.) and leave a message and we’ll call you back. Or if you can’t talk on the phone, you can always email us at referrals@jfs-sa.org.

And good news is that it is easier than ever before to fit in time with a licensed counselor. Many therapists, including those at JFS, now offer teletherapy, which means you can attend your therapy session from your home, your office, or even pulled over in your car. No need to plan in commute time to an office.

Action item: Find an accountability partner. Pick someone to tell that you want to start therapy and have them follow up with you to make sure you’ve made the time to set up and attend your appointment.

Reason #2: I’m not that bad off and there are others who need help more.

You may feel that admitting you need help means you are a failure or something is wrong with you. Maybe you feel like you should just be able to handle everything on your own. After all, it seems like all of your social media friends are handling it just fine.

But new research shows that nearly 80% of Americans are having negative reactions to the pandemic. So it is more likely than not that you are struggling, at least a bit. If you think that your problems aren’t severe enough for help, remember that it is much easier to get tools and resources before you reach a crisis point. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can learn to manage what is uncomfortable to you.

There are so many ways to access mental health.

  • Therapists
  • Social workers
  • Counselors
  • Life coaches
  • Faith-based counselors
  • Psychologists
  • Workshops and classes
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Books
  • Blogs, vlogs, and other online resources

Action item:  Practice telling yourself a mantra such as “It’s okay to not be okay” and “I am stronger than my fears.”

Action item: Ask yourself why you think you aren’t worth it. Why are your problems less important than other people’s problems? No one should have to go through life suffering. You are worthy of mental wellness. There isn’t a hierarchy of who deserves help more than others. Everyone deserves it – especially in a worldwide pandemic.

Reason #3: I don’t know who to call or how to pick a therapist that is the right fit for me.

As mentioned above, there are so many different types of mental health professionals. You have to go in knowing what you want. It is sort of like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. You have to know what fits just right for you. And sometimes that’s a matter of just trying it out.

Action item: Take time to think about what you want out of a therapist. Do you want someone who is LGBTQ+ friendly? Do you want someone who is more talkative? Someone who has conservative values? If you aren’t sure what you want in a therapist, this resource on PsychologyToday.com is a good starting point.

Reason #4: I can’t afford it. I don’t know if my insurance will pay for it.

There are a variety of ways to pay for mental health services. If your insurance doesn’t cover therapy sessions, there are several organizations out there (including JFS) that also accept clients on a sliding scale fee based on your income. Each therapist accepts a different set of insurance plans so there are a few ways to find out.

Action item: There are a few ways you can go about finding out how much a therapy session will cost you.

  • Search on Psychologytoday.com to see which agencies are in your area.
  • Call your insurance company and get a list of in-network providers.
  • Check your benefits to see if your employer offers an Employee Assistance Program, which offers a few free confidential counseling sessions to all employees in order to promote wellness in the workforce.
  • Ask your primary care provider for a list of recommendations.
  • If you are calling JFS, put your worry aside and let our friendly intake coordinator help you through this process. She can answer questions for you about which therapist at JFS fits with your insurance or what a sliding scale fee would be for those without insurance.

Reason #5: I am nervous about attending a therapy session and don’t feel comfortable telling a stranger my secrets.

Are you nervous about what a therapy session is like? Well, it is typically whatever you want it to be. The aim of mental health therapy is to learn how to manage your stressors and life in a way that you feel empowered and healthy. So you can talk with your therapist about what you envision for your therapy sessions and what you are comfortable with.

Right now, a lot of sessions are done online or by , which you can attend from any location where you feel safe. Some people prefer to be in a relaxing area with soft music playing. Some prefer to go for a walk outside. Either way, you and your therapist can decide this together.

In terms of what is discussed in a therapy session, therapists will begin by going over confidentiality laws with you. Licensed therapists are bound by a code of ethics to maintain confidentiality and to protect your privacy. In every case, they will review that with you in the first counseling session.

Action item: Weigh how much it is worth to keep that secret that you are worried about saying out loud. If you know on some level that it might be helpful to share the burden of your secret, then you should address it. Secrets create toxicity and make us feel unsafe. You can read more about that in this blog post.

Talking to a therapist will help you work through the weight of your worries and what it is doing to your life. Remember that therapists won’t judge you and your life choices.

Whatever you decide to do, please know that:

  • Many people are struggling right now so there is no need to feel shame in asking for help.
  • There are agencies out there, such as JFS, who offer affordable mental health services.
  • Therapy isn’t a power struggle between you and your therapist. It is an opportunity for you to learn to be empowered and healthy.
  • JFS is here if you are ready to start. Call us at 210-302-6808 or email us at referrals@jfs-sa.org.


Disclaimer: The contents of the Jewish Family Service of San Antonio blog are for general use or informational purposed only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The use of any information contained on this site is solely at your own risk. If you would like to speak in detail with a licensed therapist, please email referrals@jfs-sa.org.

If you have a medical emergency, please call 911 or your doctor right away.