Sliding scale therapy options for non-CU boyfriend

Dear Alice,

My boyfriend of three years is not a CU student. I am pretty sure that he is clinically depressed. We are looking for low cost psychiatric help for him since he is obviously not a candidate to be treated through CU services. Please give me some suggestions as to where to look. The two of us have a great relationship, but when his depression sets in, he is miserable and unhappy with every part of his life.


Dear HELP, 

Your concern about your boyfriend is understandable. While ultimately, it’s his decision whether or not to seek treatment, you can support him by suggesting resources or offering to help him make the appointment. The resources available to him will likely vary based on where he’s located. The good news is that there are options available with sliding scale fees. Sliding scale fees can make services more affordable–and therefore accessible–as it allows patients to work with the service provider to set a price that is feasible for them to pay. Sliding scale pricing arrangements are often based on income. Read on for resources that your boyfriend might access. 

Because you weren’t clear about where your boyfriend is located, the suggestions that are provided focus more heavily on telehealth options that can be accessed from anywhere. Here are a few resources your boyfriend can use to help him find a mental health professional that may have sliding scale fees: 

However, if he would like to see a mental health professional in person or in his local area, he might consider checking out the websites of local practices for information on fees or calling them directly to find out what they offer. It may also be important to note that if he’s hoping to qualify for lower fees than are presented, he may be asked to provide proof of income. In addition to getting information on fees, your boyfriend may consider asking the offices he calls if it’s possible to try out a few therapists in the office before committing to anyone long-term. Finding the right therapist is like shopping—you don't always find exactly what you want at the first store, but if you search a little longer, you're bound to find something you really enjoy. 

Another option is looking into Psychology Today, which is a website that makes finding a therapist easier because it allows you to filter your search by a variety of things such as the issues you’d like to discuss, price you'd be able to afford, gender of the therapist, etc. 

Your perseverance in getting your boyfriend connected to a professional is commendable and a great way to support him when those feelings of depression set in. However, it may be painful to watch someone you care about suffer from depression, so remember to take care of yourself along the way. It may be helpful for you to get connected to a mental health professional, too. 

Last updated Mar 31, 2023
Originally published Jan 01, 1994

Submit a new comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

The answer you entered for the CAPTCHA was not correct.

Can’t find information on the site about your health concern or issue?