When we feel sick, we go to the doctor. This is a common practice that no one questions. However, when it comes to mental health, there is still a lot of stigma involved. Not only can it be hard to ask for help due to social expectations, it can also be expensive and not covered by basic health insurance. Fortunately, there are various NGOs and individuals stepping up to create safe, affordable and easy-to-access resources that can make a difference.
7 Cups – Free Resources and 24/7 Chat
Featured on the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, Tech Crunch, USA Today and the Entrepreneur, 7 Cups is a great mental health resource. 7 Cups is the world’s largest emotional support system. It takes into consideration that we live in a world where one can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely, with nobody to turn to when things get rough. They have a team of 180 professional therapists and over 300,000 trained listeners that have so far helped more than 25 million people.
7 Cups has a great selection of articles on various topics related to mental health. The articles are written by therapists and based on actual studies as well as research. While these can be useful to help yourself, there are also articles that can be used to help others, including family and friends that are struggling. These articles can be a great help on their own, however there is also a free 24/7 chat function that allows you to communicate with someone who will listen.
Finally, if you need even more support and want to keep working on your mental health with 7 Cups, you can check out their online therapy. For $150/month you will get matched with a licensed therapist. You can then chat with them as often as you like instead of on a regular basis. Therapists reply once or twice a day, Monday through Friday in a private chat room. Studies have proven that support from online therapy is just as effective as in-person therapy.
MyDepressionTeam – Social Network
MyDepressionTeam is the social network for those living with depression. Members provide emotional support for each other and can gain practical advice and insights on managing treatment as well as therapies for depression. MyDepressionTeam offers a unique network and a judgment-free place for people who struggle with depression to connect, share daily ups and downs as well as make real friendships
This main purpose of MyDepressionTeam is to connect like-minded people who can help each other. Other than the network, the website also offers resources and information about different types of depression as well as symptoms, causes and treatments. There is also a page that outlines diagnosis to see if what you are experiencing is in fact, depression.
Mind Wise Organization: Suicide Awareness and Prevention
Help Yourself. Help Others. is an organization that can help save a life. Whether you or someone you love seems to be contemplating suicide, this website has the resources to help. The website gives you the option to take a screening for either individuals or military friends and families. There is also a link that takes you to the Mind Wise organization with information on how to detect and help someone who may be suicidal.
Mind Wise has various recourses on the topic of suicide that can be helpful to those who are struggling and their friends and family. The main page outlines the basic thing that can help save a life, referred to as ACT. ACT stands for acknowledge, care and tell. This starts with acknowledging that you see signs of depression or suicide in a friend or yourself, showing your friend that you’re worried about them and offering support, and finally, telling a trusted adult so you can get help for yourself or others.
Mind Wise also offers tips on guided exercises that include special ways to breathe, relax, stretch and meditate. These simple activities can help alleviate stress and anxiety which is often linked to depression and suicidal thoughts. The website also points out some basic coping mechanisms that include journaling, exercise, healthy eating and pursuing fun hobbies. Check out Mind Wise for other tips, articles and resources that have the power to improve or even save a life.
Oprah – Free Resources Based on the Struggle
Oprah Winfrey has had several loved ones struggle with mental illness. Her experience sitting in the psych ward waiting to hear about their prognosis of suicidal depression and schizophrenic thoughts led her to do more research and strive to help. There are almost 8 billion people on the planet and not everyone has the same struggles. Oprah has put together a list of free resources for different struggles. She will also be collaborating with Prince Harry and CNN on a new television series tackling the issue of mental health.
- Struggling with Anxiety: Create a profile at Anxiety Social Net to connect with people dealing with everything from social anxiety to agoraphobia.
- Struggling with Depression or Bipolar Disorder: Locate an online group at DBS Alliance.
- Struggling with Postpartum Depression: Postpartum Progress has a list of support groups in nearly every state in the USA as well as in Canada.
- Struggling with Schizophrenia: find support groups in the USA by going to the SARDAA’s website.
- Plagued by Obsessive-Compulsive Thoughts and Behaviours: the International OCD Foundation helps you connect to more than 200 groups. These aim to aid those affected by the disorder as well as their families.
- The Adult Child of an Alcoholic: The Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization maintains numerous support groups and hosts call-in and online sessions.
- Grieving Someone Who Died by Suicide: You can join one of the many groups for survivors listed on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- A Survivor of Rape, Sexual Assault or Incest: After Silence is a message board and chat room for victims of sexual violence. Similarly, Adult Survivors of Child Abuse organizes support groups around the U.S. and abroad.
- Battling Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating or Food Addiction: Eating Disorder Hope catalogs online support groups and offers help and advice for those close to someone struggling to overcome an eating disorder.
- Battling Sex Addiction: Sex Addicts Anonymous, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, offers a network of online and phone meetings.
- Self-Harming: DailyStrength hosts a web forum where people dealing with self-injury can find encouragement, understanding and coping mechanisms.
- A Veteran Who Is Injured Or Has PTSD: The VA Combat Call Center employs a staff of combat veterans and spouses of disabled veterans. They offer help and support and can provide more information on where to get counselling sessions.
The Bottom Line
Mental health is just as important as physical health and we need to keep pushing to normalize talking about our emotional problems just like we would a broken bone. These resources are free and available to anyone who needs help for themselves or a loved one. Supporting these organizations and encouraging people to seek help for any mental struggles can make the world a better, safer place.
During this challenging time, make sure you are looking for yourself. Here are some top tips for during this pandemic:
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