I am now 6 months into being entirely self employed as a therapist, and facing some new challenges as we are all hit with the current pandemic. I have set my fees for therapy at a rate that I believe reflects my experience and specialisation, with some flexibility for those on lower and limited incomes.
I do realise that I serve some of the more oppressed communities that we have in society, people who struggle with mental health, with managing to work for all sorts of reasons, and who sometimes have to fight for their right to exist at all. I have a few clients, in relatively stable life circumstances who pay a good fee for their therapy. However, recently several clients have told me that they are cancelling all future appointments because they are struggling to pay rent and bills. Some are losing the income they had because of COVID 19.
This makes me sad on many levels.
I wish that quality and long term mental health care was available for all in need, free at the point of need for those who cannot afford it, just as it is in some European countries, and just as physical health care is in the UK. It isn’t, despite many politicians making promises.
I wish that society was more equal, people more open and accepting of difference, and therefore the worrying levels of poor mental health especially in LGBTQ+ communities wasn’t the reality that it is.
I wish that I had independent means, and could provide therapy to anyone who needed it on a pay-what-you-can-afford basis. I can’t, because I too have to pay a (small) mortgage, bills, travel, care for my dog…
I wish that I knew how to solve the mental health crisis that we have in the UK.
I wish I could believe that any future government will keep its promises…
Many of you know that I lived for 18 years as a self-employed missionary, relying on the generosity of family and friends to provide for my needs. I am re-imagining a similar system, but this time to provide for a few of my most in-need clients.
I have set up a separate bank account, into which generous hearts around me might make deposits.
I commit to using that money entirely for subsidising clients in difficult circumstances. They would pay half the lowest rate I charge at the moment, and the account would pay the other half – for fortnightly therapy sessions – for a maximum of 6 months per client. Any interest earned would stay in the account.
Generous hearts could pay in one-off gifts as they are able, or monthly by direct debit.
I won’t be able to offer any information about who is being supported, for reasons of confidentiality, and I would need to ask generous hearts to trust me in the wise and responsible use of the money. I can offer periodic information on figures raised, numbers supported etc.
I have appointed a couple of trustworthy people to whom I will be accountable for my decisions and to whom I will give complete access to my financial affairs, to keep this above board. If you would like to talk to them or ask them any questions, I am happy to put you in touch.
I have considered using Patreon, or one of the on-line giving schemes, but they all take a percentage cut (understandably) and I would prefer 100% of the giving to go direct to help clients.
The bank account is in my name, JM Russell, RBS account no. 00155743, sort code 832804
Please don’t feel obliged to give – we are all at different places. No gift is too small (or too large!), and it is my commitment to you that it will only be used for the purposes described.
On behalf of some of the more vulnerable in our society, thank you so much.