14 Free Mental Health Resources
The number of people suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health problems has been on the rise since the start of the pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of adults in the United States with anxiety or depression increased from 36% to 41% from August 2020 to February 2021.
This increase has greatly increased the need for therapists. When trying to find a mental health care provider in your area, you may be told that no one is available, only to be added to a waiting list. It can certainly be daunting, but it shouldn’t be the end of your search for help. There are many free mental health resources that can be of great help to you while you wait for an appointment with a therapist.
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When using online mental health resources, it can be helpful to focus specifically on the type of help you can get. For example, if you have postpartum depression, a resource that focuses specifically on that topic may provide more focused advice than resources focused on depression more broadly.
Whatever your problem, free help is available. Here’s where to find it.
14 Free Mental Health Resources
1. 988 Suicide & Crisis Hotline
Launched last month, 988 is similar to 911 but used specifically for mental health emergencies. Anyone who calls or texts will be immediately connected to a mental health counselor trained to help people with suicidal thoughts, substance abuse issues, anxiety or depression.
2. 7 cups
This online and SMS therapy resource allows users to speak anonymously with mental health counselors, if they wish. While therapy sessions with 7 Cups therapists cost $150, it’s free to talk or text with trained volunteers who are available 24/7. There are also support groups on chat rooms, including for LGBTQ people as well as teens.
3. Alcoholics Anonymous
Long and widely regarded as a place to seek support for maintaining sobriety, Alcoholics Anonymous meets online as well as in person. Download the app to see when online support group meetings are happening and to receive daily inspirational quotes.
4. Herren Project
Herren Project is a non-profit organization that hosts free virtual support groups for people who have a loved one suffering from addiction. The meetings are held by licensed clinicians and serve both to offer and obtain support, as well as to learn important skills to support yourself and your loved one.
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5. Mindfulness for Teens
Created specifically for teens, this online resource offers a library of free guided meditations to help calm anxious thoughts. There are also videos and articles explaining what mindfulness is and how to practice it.
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6. The Trevor Project
An online resource for LGBTQ youth, The Trevor Project offers a wide selection of articles related to mental health, suicide prevention, gender identity and sexual orientation. There is also an online social community called TrevorSpace specifically for LGBTQ people between the ages of 13 and 24 so users can befriend people they can relate to. Mental health counselors are available to talk, chat or message 24/7.
7. National Eating Disorders Association
People struggling with an eating disorder can call, text or message the National Eating Disorder Association for help. Their website also has lots of helpful information on identifying eating disorders, steps to developing a more positive body image, finding treatment and more.
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8. A military source
A program created by the US Department of Defense, Military OneSource is a resource specifically for serving National Guard and Reserve members and their families. The confidential 24/7 hotline can provide support and answers to questions related to military life, such as how to maintain a healthy relationship with a loved one who is deployed, help manage finances, how to obtain custody of children or questions related to the move.
9. Soldiers’ Angels
If you are an active duty military member or veteran in need of mental health support, Soldiers’ Angels is here for you. This non-profit organization offers a wide range of support programs, including for deployed female soldiers, pregnant spouses with a deployed partner, low-income veterans, injured service members, and spouses with an injured partner.
10. Responding loudly
First responders are at increased risk for anxiety and depression due to the trauma they are regularly exposed to. Responder Strong has an extensive library of free self-help articles and tools. Using the site, first responders can make self-assessments related to alcohol use, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide risk. There is also a free mindfulness audio course and other guides for coping with traumatic events.
11. Medical Helpline
If you are a doctor in need of mental health support, call the Physician Helpline to speak to a volunteer psychiatrist. No appointment is necessary and calls are free and confidential.
12. International postpartum support
Postpartum Support International has both a helpline and a crisis line that new moms with depression or anxiety can call for immediate help. There are also 14 different online support groups available five days a week to connect with others who can relate to what you are going through. PSI also offers support and resources for anyone who has experienced a miscarriage or infant loss.
13. TOC International Foundation
A dedicated resource for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder, the International OCD Foundation has a wealth of articles on how to live well with OCD. There is also a search tool to find an OCD therapist in your area.
14. Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America
People with schizophrenia can find a support group on the Schizophrenia and Related Disorder Alliance of America website. There are also many toolkits available for free, including what to do after being diagnosed, if you’re a caretaker, and more.
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