How to Beat the High Cost of Living (with Mental Health)


How much?

If you read through this blog, you will come across many of the intangible costs of mental illness. (As a reminder, Ethan is diagnosed with Autism (Asperger’s), Bi-polar Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and OCD.) Today, however, I’m going to talk about monetary costs.  We have a fundraiser on the GiveForward site.  Even if you cannot donate, stop by the site and give Ethan a virtual hug.  He enjoys seeing these when I visit him. It hurts me deep down to do what is tantamount to begging, but I have swallowed my pride for my son.  This is why.

Expense Frequency Estimated Cost Total
Psychiatrist 2 to 4 per month $30 to $70 per visit $60 min.
Psychologist 1 to 2 per month $30 to $70 per visit $30 min.
Medications 5 medications varies $135
Travel Expenses (Gas) 4 visits per month
128 miles per visit
$2.60 per gallon $61
Tuition monthly $5000 – $12,000 $5000 min.
Lawyer hourly $100 – $150 $1002
Educational Consultant monthly $250 $01
Parent Navigator as needed $150 $1503
approx. $5540

1 We have talked with our lawyer multiple times. At this point we have not been charged a fee. We will begin using his services in the next couple of weeks. He has capped his cost at $1000.
2 Upon investigating schools that would take Ethan, educational consultant tore up contract. She told us that the cost of the school will be so much that we need to save all of our money for that.
Basically she’s doing all of this for free.
3We have employed a Parent Navigator to help us with the transition from Alexander Youth Network to public school. She was amazing. Without her, I don’t think we could have managed the whole process. She has proved to be an invaluable resource. We may or may not require her use in the future. The cost is pure estimate as it is based on the service required.

This is, unfortunately, a lowball estimate of monthly costs. Ethan’s first therapeutic boarding school was in South Carolina. And though we were unable to visit as frequently as we would have liked, the costs of travel were much higher.  The school is about 350 miles away.  We would visit for a weekend. That meant two nights in a hotel and all meals on the road.  Rather than $60 per month, travel was roughly $500 per visit.

That brings us to the fundraiser.  It’s been amazingly successful for us.  We’ve raised nearly $5000, but as you can see above, this will likely not even cover one month of expenses.  Our friends, coworkers, and family have all been amazingly generous. Now it’s time for me to rely of the kindness of strangers. And I have a severe case of Stranger Danger.