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Accessing mental health resources is a crucial step in the recovery from mental or psychological distress. Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the United States live with a mental health condition.
In this article, we look at the various mental health resources available to those who need them.
We also include information on many providers and organizations, and list resources according to the groups and conditions they support.
People should seek help if they experience:
- persistent feelings of sadness, anger, or anxiety
- feelings of being overwhelmed
- low energy
- loss of motivation
- loss of interest in things a person previously enjoyed
- uncontrollable or intrusive thoughts
- panic attacks
- thoughts of suicide or self-harm
- domestic or sexual violence
- adverse effects following a natural disaster
- relationship difficulties
- substance abuse
- persistent memories of past trauma
- prolonged periods of grief following a bereavement
People should also seek help if an emotional or mental condition causes changes in behavior or beliefs, or if family and friends notice a difference in the person’s behavior or attitude.
If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:
- Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
- Listen to the person without judgment.
- Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
- Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
- Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours per day at 800-273-8255. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 800-273-8255.
A variety of mental health professionals provide emotional support and treatment. The type a person chooses will depend on their needs and preferences.
If a person is unsure of which one to choose, consider talking to a family doctor or nurse practitioner for guidance and referral.
Mental health counselors
These professionals provide individual and group counseling in various settings, including hospitals, clinics, and private practices.
Counselors can help with anxiety, depression, and other general mental health conditions. Some specialize in areas such as addiction, trauma, and relationship counseling.
Mental health counselors cannot prescribe medications.
Insurance may cover some mental health counselors — individuals should check with their insurance provider.
Psychologists hold a doctoral degree in psychology.
- evaluate and treat mental health conditions
- perform counseling and psychotherapy
- carry out psychological testing
Licensed psychologists cannot typically write prescriptions, although this may vary from state to state.
Insurance providers can cover psychological services — individuals should check with their insurance provider.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. They also understand the nature of physical conditions, enabling them to determine if physical symptoms may be causing emotional distress.
Psychiatrists can also monitor the effects of mental health conditions on physical ailments, such as blood pressure.
As they are medical doctors, psychiatrists can prescribe medications. They do not typically provide counseling services, but they can work with those who do.
Psychiatric nurse practitioner
Psychiatric nurse practitioners specialize in providing mental health services.
They may evaluate patients and provide counseling.
Psychiatric nurses can prescribe and monitor medications.
Clinical social workers
Clinical social workers evaluate and treat mental health conditions through counseling, advocacy, and case management.
They can provide group and individual therapy and work in various settings.
They are unable to prescribe medication.
Individuals who have experienced and recovered from mental health conditions, such as substance abuse, often support others who are facing similar problems.
Usually, people can access peer supporters through organizations and charities.
Peer supporters cannot prescribe medication. Their services are typically free.
When choosing a therapist, people should consider the type of therapy they require. They should also consider the type of mental health provider that would be most appropriate for their needs.
It can help to ask a family doctor, nurse practitioner, or insurance company for a list of qualified professionals. A doctor or nurse practitioner can also provide a referral.
Other options to find therapists include:
- word-of-mouth, from family members and friends
- workplaces, such as through the HR department or employee assistance programs
- colleges and universities
- local charities
- religious organizations
Online resources for finding therapists include:
- the American Psychiatric Association (APA)’s Find a Psychiatrist function
- the APA’s Psychologist Locator
- the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)’s Find a Therapist service
- the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ list of certified counselors
- Good Therapy’s Find a Therapist function
- the Black Mental Health Alliance Find a Therapist listing for those who are looking for a culturally competent mental health professional
- Therapy for Latinx, which helps those who are Latinx or a person of color (POC) find culturally competent mental health professionals
Factors to consider
When choosing a therapist, a person can consider:
- their qualifications
- their experience
- their area, or areas, of specialization
- their approach and philosophy of therapy
- the tools and techniques they use
- their ability to prescribe medication, if relevant
- costs and insurance coverage
To schedule an appointment, a person will need to call the therapist. Some therapists may be happy to answer questions over the phone, while others prefer to wait until the first appointment.
If people require an urgent appointment, they should convey this to the therapist. Some therapists keep slots available for people in crisis, while others keep a cancellation list for such cases.
The first appointment offers people a chance to get to know the therapist better and find answers to their questions.
Some questions to ask a therapist at the first appointment can include:
- What are your qualifications?
- How long have you been in practice?
- Have you worked with similar conditions in the past?
- What are your policies and fees?
- What tools and techniques do you use to achieve successful outcomes?
- How long do people typically stay in therapy with you?
- What approach do you take to therapy?
- How will I benefit from therapy with you?
- Can you prescribe medication?
- What insurance providers cover your services?
- Do you provide referrals to other professionals and services, if necessary?
Getting help can be expensive. However, Medicare does cover some mental health services, including therapy.
Options for those without insurance
If a person does not have insurance, they may find it more difficult to find help. However, there are free or low-cost options available.
Online and phone resources, or telemental health services, are a rapidly growing area in the treatment of mental health conditions.
Individuals can access online counseling services through phone calls, text messages, video calls, or emails. Many therapists offer online and phone support to clients.
Alternatively, free phone or text support is available through nonprofit organizations and charities.
Examples of beneficial telephone hotlines include:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255.
- The Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline: Call 1-800-799-7233, or if a person is unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-94-74.
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline: Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
- The Veteran’s Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, or text 838255.
A variety of mobile apps are available to support people with mental health conditions.
These apps can act as a treatment aid, but they should not replace professional help.
Some apps provide information and tips, while others include guided meditation and other tools for mental wellness. Other apps facilitate communication with therapists or with peers.
ADAA provide a list of mental health mobile apps.
Other examples of free apps for mental health include:
Moodfit allows users to:
- track their moods
- set daily goals
- practice gratitude
- use meditation and breathing exercises
- challenge distorted thoughts
MoodMission is an evidence-based app that claims it can help people to cope better with depression and anxiety.
Users can complete missions based on how they are feeling to improve their mood.
SAM (Self Help for Anxiety Management)
SAM helps users to understand and manage anxiety and track anxious thoughts and behaviors over time.
From Anxiety Canada, MindShift CBT uses cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) strategies to help people relax, be mindful, and challenge distorted thoughts.
It can help those with anxiety, panic, phobias, and more.
It also offers other tools for managing PTSD, such as relaxation skills and anger management techniques.
Certain types of video games can offer another way to support mental health.
- attention and engagement
- emotional expression
Video games may also facilitate physical activity and provide therapeutic imagery to users.
Games that specifically aim to support mental health include:
Depression Quest is an adventure that challenges players to make it through the day living as someone with depression.
It aims to help those with depression understand that they are not alone, and it highlights to others what it is like to live with depression.
Pry is an iOS game that highlights the struggles of veterans living with PTSD. It focuses on a soldier returning from war.
Players can discover new information about what the protagonist has experienced and what it is like to live with these memories.
SuperBetter is a game that aims to build resilience and enable people to remain motivated and optimistic during challenging situations.
Some people may require inpatient and hospital care, or a stay at a residential treatment center (RTC) to help manage their condition.
For example, people experiencing an addiction may require residential care at an addiction center.
The ADAA mention that RTCs typically focus on substance use disorders. However, some centers focus on anxiety and depression.
However, the ADAA supply a list of RTCs that focus on anxiety and depression.
A person typically stays at an RTC for approximately 60 days.
Individuals who require partial hospitalization will receive treatment during the day, but they will not stay overnight.
Sometimes, a doctor may place a person on psychiatric hold at a hospital or treatment center. They will do this if they believe that the person is a danger to themselves or others.
A doctor or psychiatrist can provide information on local psychiatric hospitals and treatment facilities.
Information on treatment facilities is available at the following:
- AddictionCenter.com, which provides a list of treatment centers for those dealing with addiction
- the American Residential Treatment Association, which is a list of residential treatment facilities
- SAMHSA, which is a database of treatment services for substance abuse or mental health problems
Some nonprofit organizations and charities that offer support to LGBTQIA+ people include:
The Trevor Project
This organization provides support for young LGBTQIA+ people.
Their crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
A person can call The Trevor Project on 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678678 to talk to a counselor via text.
They also offer an online chat service.
The LGBT National Hotline
Available to all ages, the LGBT National Hotline provides a free, anonymous, and confidential space to talk about LGBT issues and concerns.
A person can call 888-843-4564 or email help@LGBThotline.org.
The LGBT National Youth Talkline
The LGBT National Youth Talkline offers free and confidential peer support for LGBT youth, aged 25 and under.
A person can call 800-246-7743 or email help@LGBThotline.org.
Some nonprofit organizations and charities that offer support to those who have experienced domestic violence include:
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Domestic Violence Hotline has highly trained expert advocates who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to support those who live with domestic violence or who have questions about the health of their relationship.
Advocates are available at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) in more than 200 languages, or through live chat services.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline also provides a list of state and national organizations that offer support to survivors of domestic violence.
A National Domestic Violence Hotline project, loveisrespect aims to empower young people to prevent and end abusive relationships.
People can speak to peer advocates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on 1-866-331-9474 or through online chat.
They can also text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474.
Gift From Within
This nonprofit organization for survivors of trauma keeps a list of online and in-person support groups for those with PTSD and their loved ones.
A person can access this list here.
Some nonprofit organizations and charities that offer support to those who have experienced sexual violence include:
RAINN (Rape Abuse and Incest National Network)
RAINN connects callers with trained people from local sexual assault service providers who offer confidential support and help finding local services.
The number is 800-656-HOPE (4673), and there is also a live chat service.
Survivors of Incest Anonymous:
This organization holds group meetings for people who have experienced incest.
It runs a 12-step program for the recovery from the effects of childhood sexual abuse.
A person can contact Survivors of Incest Anonymous here.
They can also call 877-742-9761.
The Hope of Survivors
The Hope of Survivors offers support for survivors of sexual abuse by members of the clergy.
Individuals can call 866-260-8958 in confidence and leave their name and details for a callback.
This nonprofit organization for survivors of trauma keeps a list of online and in-person support groups for those with PTSD and their loved ones.
Survivors of sexual violence can also find a list of resources at Gift From Within.
Some nonprofit organizations and charities that can provide culturally competent support include:
Black Mental Health Alliance
The Black Mental Health Alliance provides information and resources to support the health and well-being of Black people and other communities.
They also provide a Find a Therapist locator to connect individuals with a culturally competent mental health professional.
People can contact the Black Mental Health Alliance using an online form.
They can also call (410)-338-2642.
Black Emotional and Mental Health (BEAM) Collective
BEAM is an organization that keeps a list of licensed Black therapists who provide telemental health services.
BEAM also offers mobile crisis rapid response teams in several areas that provide an immediate response to emergency mental health situations.
People can use the following online form to contact BEAM.
Therapy for Black Girls
This online space encourages the mental well-being of Black females. It provides the following tool to find a local or online therapist.
A person can contact Therapy for Black Girls here.
If a person is experiencing a crisis, they can text TRIBE to 741741.
Therapy for Latinx
Therapy for Latinx is a national mental health resource for the Latinx community. It includes a directory of therapists that identify as Latinx or POC or have worked closely with the POC community and understand their unique needs.
Some nonprofit organizations and charities that can provide help for children and adolescents include:
ChildHelp National Child Abuse Helpline
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, this helpline offers crisis intervention, information, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources.
Assistance is available in over 170 languages.
A person can call 1-800-422-4453.
Child Mind Institute:
Child Mind Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides information and other resources for children and families dealing with mental health conditions and learning disorders.
A person can contact Child Mind Institute on (212)-308-3118.
Children’s Health Council:
Children’s Health Council provides support and telemental health services for children and families coping with mental health conditions and learning disorders.
A person can find the telephone numbers here, or call 650-688-3625.
Some nonprofit organizations and charities that can provide help for caregivers include:
The Well Spouse Association
The Well Spouse Association offers online and in-person support groups for caregivers of partners with a chronic illness.
They also run an online forum and respite weekends, and they facilitate a peer mentor program.
A person can find a support group using this tool.
Veteran Affairs Caregiver Support
The Veteran Affairs Caregiver Support provides support, training, and more to those caring for a veteran.
Advice is available at 855–260–3274, or individuals can search the website for their local caregiver support coordinator.
Some nonprofit organizations and charities that offer support to veterans include:
The Veterans Crisis Line
Veterans Crisis Line is free, and the confidential support service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to all veterans, even those not registered with the Veterans Affairs.
They also aim to support those who are members of the National Guard and Reserve, as well as family members and friends.
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1, text 838255, or chat online.
Veterans with hearing difficulties can call 1-800-799-4889.
National Call Center for Homeless Veterans
Veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless can find support and information on local services.
Call 1-877-4AID VET (877-424-3838) or use the online chat facility.
War Vet Call Center
This confidential service gives combat veterans and their families a space to talk about their military experiences or the challenges of readjusting to civilian life. It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Call 1-877-WAR-VETS (927-8387).
Veterans experiencing trauma or PTSD can also find a list of resources at Gift From Within.
Employers may offer counseling services to their employees.
People can typically find out more about the workplace and employee assistance programs their company offers through their human resources department.
The following supports cover a variety of mental health conditions:
Mental Health America
Mental Health America is an organization that promotes mental well-being through the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental health conditions.
The website also has a directory of local supports for those living with a mental health condition.
A person can use this tool to find out where they can get help.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI is an association of over 500 local affiliates who raise awareness and provide support and education in their communities.
The website has lists of local support groups and affiliates.
A person can find their local NAMI here.
Individuals can contact the NAMI HelpLine on 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This website provides a list of mental health nonprofits and charities.
Some nonprofit organizations and charities that can provide help for those experiencing anxiety and depression:
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)
The ADAA offers help in the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more.
It provides information and directories of mental health professionals and support groups.
A person can use this directory to find a therapist.
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
The website also offers other resources and information.
Postpartum Support International
The PSI helpline, in English and Spanish, is available at 1-800-944-4773.
Other supports include text support, online support meetings, and peer mentor programs.
Some nonprofit organizations and charities that can provide help for those considering suicide or those who know someone who has ended their life include:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The National Suicide Prevention Lifelines offer free and confidential support for those in distress and their loved ones.
The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-800-273-8255, and an online chat facility is also available.
The Alliance of Hope for Suicide Loss Survivors
Providing support to those who have lost a loved one to suicide, the Alliance of Hope hosts an online forum, lists support groups, and offers phone and Skype consultations by trained trauma counselors.
A person can find support using this webpage.
The Friends for Survival Suicide Loss Helpline
Offering help to those who have lost a loved one to suicide, all staff and volunteers at Friends for Survival have had a personal experience of a suicide death.
Individuals can call 916-392-0664 or the toll-free number 800-646-7322.
Some nonprofit organizations and charities that can provide help for those experiencing bereavement include:
Bereaved Parents USA
Bereaved Parents USA provides support for those who have lost a child, grandchild, or sibling.
Resources include information, local chapter meetings, and more.
The Compassionate Friends
The Compassionate Friends is an organization that aims to offer comfort, hope, and support for families who have lost a child, sibling, or grandchild. Resources include online communities and local chapter supports.
A person can use this online form to contact The Compassionate Friends.
Star Legacy Foundation
Star Legacy Foundation is a nonprofit organization that aims to increase awareness and support regarding pregnancy loss and neonatal death.
They offer support lines and support groups for those who have experienced a perinatal loss and those experiencing a pregnancy after a pregnancy loss.
A person can learn more about the support the Star Legacy Foundation provides here.
The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) runs in-person and online support groups for people with depression and bipolar disorder. The website also offers other resources and information.
A person can find support using this tool.
The Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) supports those with schizophrenia, psychosis, and related disorders.
It runs call-in peer support groups for diagnosed individuals and other support groups for their families.
A person can call SARDAA on 240-423-9432, or use the toll-free number on 800-493-2094.
The International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation is an organization that provides information and other resources for those with OCD and related disorders.
It also maintains a directory of therapists, clinics, support groups, and other local organizations for those with OCD and their families.
A person can find help here.
Some nonprofit organizations and charities that can provide help for those with eating disorders:
The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
NEDA provides information and maintains a directory of support groups for people with eating disorders.
It also offers a helpline and text support at 800-931-2237 and an online chat service.
Overeaters Anonymous (OA)
Providing support to those who experience compulsive eating and food behaviors, the OA website features information and other helpful resources.
It also lists in-person, telephone, and online meetings for those with compulsive eating behaviors.
A person can find meetings here.
Some nonprofit organizations and charities that can provide help for those with neurodevelopmental conditions:
The Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA)
A person can contact them using this online form.
Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD)
Autism Society National Helpline
The Autism Society provide information on services and support across the country.
To speak to a trained information and referral specialist, call 800-3-AUTISM (800-328-8476).
Autism Awareness Center
The Autism Awareness Center provides links to resources and organizations that support those in the United States with autism and related disorders.
Some organizations can provide support and help for those with substance use disorder (SUD), alcohol use disorder (AUD), or an addiction to gambling or sex.
- Alcoholics Anonymous: The AA holds meetings throughout the country for those with alcohol use disorder. A person can find their local AA contact information here.
- Al-Anon: Al-Anon provides nationwide meetings for those who are affected by a loved one’s alcohol abuse. A person can find meetings here.
- SAMHSA: Services include general information on substance abuse and a directory of local treatment services. Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
- Narcotics Anonymous (NA): The NA holds meetings throughout the country for those with a history of drug addiction. A person can find meetings here.
- Nar-Anon: Nar-Anon provides nationwide meetings for those who are affected by a loved one’s drug use. A person can learn more here.
- Dual Recovery Anonymous: This organization holds meetings for individuals who are experiencing AUD or SUD and also have emotional or psychiatric conditions. A person can find their local contact information here.
Gamblers Anonymous provide support for those with gambling addiction, as well as their family members and friends.
A wide variety of mental health resources are available to those experiencing emotional difficulties or the symptoms of a mental health condition.
While it is beneficial to recovery to seek prompt treatment, it is never too late to reach out for help.
With treatment, people can learn to manage their symptoms and begin to feel better.
Individuals who are unsure of whom to contact about their symptoms should speak to a doctor, who can point them in the right direction.