RC: That’s a great and complicated question! For anyone who has been in a workshop with me, y’all will know that my whole way of thinking is organized around access to resources and this is a shining example of that. Depending on employment status, access to health insurance, income level, geographical location, and a number of other contextual factors, a person’s access to free and/or reduced-cost health and wellness resources will likely vary.
AG: A benefit to being employed in some organizations is access to employee assistance programs. These are programs that can “offer free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related problems.” This can include things like childcare access, mental health counseling, interpersonal violence resources, substance use resources and more. If you are employed, it is worth checking in with someone from Human Resources to see if you have access to a program like this.
RC: Building off that, some health insurance providers offer incentives for preventative health initiatives, which might include things like defraying the cost of a gym membership, supporting exercise classes and/or weight-management programs, or subsidizing the cost of massage, acupuncture, etc…
AG: Again, check in with your insurance provider to see what kinds of incentives you may have access to. We recognize that these types of programs are not common across all sectors and regions; in addition, if you are not employed they are inaccessible. However, there are often still community-based resources that may be available to you. Some examples of these may be: Planned Parenthood, community health clinics, and other mobile clinics.
RC: In many smaller towns, the Chamber of Commerce maintains a list of (generally) reduced-cost health resources that may be useful. It’s really important to reiterate here that the availability of resources is very much based on the the community in which you find yourself. It can feel onerous to navigate when moving to a new community; often people find that word-of-mouth and/or connecting with trusted resources for recommendations. Finally, it may be worth googling and then following up to vet free health resources in your community.
AG: Next week we will give an overview of some national resources and will focus on post-grad interpersonal health! Congrats on graduation!!