9 Mental Health Resources That Aren’t A Therapist

If you’ve ever struggled with mental health, you’ve probably been urged to go to see a therapist. But what if you don’t think you need to see a professional, or are not ready to do so? What if you can’t afford therapy? What if you have so much stuff to do and aren’t ready to fit therapy into your busy schedule? No matter your reason, here are 9 mental health resources that don’t involve sitting across from a shrink for an hour.

1. Apps.

It should come as no surprise that there are several apps out there designed to help you get through life as happily and as calmly as possible. Best of all, many of them are free! Try MindShift, an app which helps you relax in anxiety-inducing situations. Another possibility is T2 Mood Tracker. This app lets you track yourself based on 6 individual issues and creates spreadsheets of your mood you can share easily with your doctor.

2. Websites.

Perhaps you’re not feeling 100% thrilled with your life, but don’t know where to start dealing with your mental health. Luckily, there are a ton of websites that can help! The National Institute of Mental Health, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and MentalHealth.gov will all help you learn what you need to. Another great resource? 7 Cups of Tea will connect you to somebody who’s just there to listen and offer constructive criticism – for free.

3. Support Groups.

Are you nervous about getting all the attention of a therapist for a full session? Ease your fears by joining a support group instead. Meeting other people who are struggling with issues similar to yours will help you feel safer and better about yourself. Plus, you’ll learn tips and tricks to help you lead a more fulfilling life – and these tend to be free or at least cheaper than individual therapy. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has support groups nationwide.

4. Religious Leaders.

If you’re religious, you probably talk to your spiritual leader about several things – so why not mental illness? Many such leaders have training in counseling and can help you out. Even if they’re not comfortable dealing with secular issues, they likely can get you in touch with someone who can help. In fact, many religious houses will help you out even if you’re not a member – so try calling up a local church if you’re struggling to find someone to talk to.

5. Books.

There are tons of books out there devoted to dealing with mental health issues. And even if you prefer fiction, escaping with a book can be a great way to feel less overwhelmed with all your stressors. Intrigued by this but don’t know where to start? Try transforming how you look at the world with The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

6. Online Forums.

Intrigued by a support group but can’t find the perfect one in your area? Look at online forums. These groups are easy to get on at any time, and you can find one that fits your specific needs no matter how rare they are. Try looking for one at PsychCentral.

7. Hotlines.

Sometimes, you just can’t wait to find a friend who’s willing to pick up the phone. So in your darkest times, make use of the 24/7 hotlines out there that want to help you out. You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, and they can refer you to mental health professionals nearby after your call. You can also call 211 anywhere in the United States and be put in touch with mental health resources. Too scared to call? Get help with IMAlive‘s virtual crisis chat.

8. Podcasts and Videos.

Like apps and books, pocasts and videos are another great way to learn more about dealing with mental health issues. The Mental Illness Happy Hour is a podcast that talks about everything from addiction to negative thinking submitted via anonymous surveys, podcaster Paul Gilmartin’s personal experience and interviews with everyone from celebrities to doctors. Or check out PsychCentral’s Top 10 Mental Health Vides of 2011.

9. Self-Care.

Self-care might not sound like a mental health resource, but it’s the best one you have. Even the smallest things you do each day can have a profound impact on your mental health. So make your bed. Have breakfast. Make plans with others and hit the gym regularly. You might be surprised at how much you can change your life.

You might still want to see a therapist – and there are several ways you can do that. Try talking to your provider about sliding payment scales, see if your employer can assist you, or find a nearby university that might have low-cost therapy from graduate students. But if you’ve exhausted all your options or just aren’t ready for a therapist, it’s important to remember that there are other options out there.

Liked this? Check out 10 Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Photo Credit: Lau_Lau Chan via Compfight cc

If you’ve ever struggled with mental health, you’ve probably been urged to go to see a therapist. But what if you don’t think you need to see a professional, or are not ready to do so? What if you can’t afford therapy? What if you have so much stuff to do and aren’t ready to fit therapy into your busy schedule? No matter your reason, here are 9 mental health resources that don’t involve sitting across from a shrink for an hour.

1. Apps.

It should come as no surprise that there are several apps out there designed to help you get through life as happily and as calmly as possible. Best of all, many of them are free! Try MindShift, an app which helps you relax in anxiety-inducing situations. Another possibility is T2 Mood Tracker. This app lets you track yourself based on 6 individual issues and creates spreadsheets of your mood you can share easily with your doctor.

2. Websites.

Perhaps you’re not feeling 100% thrilled with your life, but don’t know where to start dealing with your mental health. Luckily, there are a ton of websites that can help! The National Institute of Mental Health, the National Alliance on Mental Illness and MentalHealth.gov will all help you learn what you need to. Another great resource? 7 Cups of Tea will connect you to somebody who’s just there to listen and offer constructive criticism – for free.

3. Support Groups.

Are you nervous about getting all the attention of a therapist for a full session? Ease your fears by joining a support group instead. Meeting other people who are struggling with issues similar to yours will help you feel safer and better about yourself. Plus, you’ll learn tips and tricks to help you lead a more fulfilling life – and these tend to be free or at least cheaper than individual therapy. The National Alliance on Mental Illness has support groups nationwide.

4. Religious Leaders.

If you’re religious, you probably talk to your spiritual leader about several things – so why not mental illness? Many such leaders have training in counseling and can help you out. Even if they’re not comfortable dealing with secular issues, they likely can get you in touch with someone who can help. In fact, many religious houses will help you out even if you’re not a member – so try calling up a local church if you’re struggling to find someone to talk to.

5. Books.

There are tons of books out there devoted to dealing with mental health issues. And even if you prefer fiction, escaping with a book can be a great way to feel less overwhelmed with all your stressors. Intrigued by this but don’t know where to start? Try transforming how you look at the world with The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

6. Online Forums.

Intrigued by a support group but can’t find the perfect one in your area? Look at online forums. These groups are easy to get on at any time, and you can find one that fits your specific needs no matter how rare they are. Try looking for one at PsychCentral.

7. Hotlines.

Sometimes, you just can’t wait to find a friend who’s willing to pick up the phone. So in your darkest times, make use of the 24/7 hotlines out there that want to help you out. You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, and they can refer you to mental health professionals nearby after your call. You can also call 211 anywhere in the United States and be put in touch with mental health resources. Too scared to call? Get help with IMAlive‘s virtual crisis chat.

8. Podcasts and Videos.

Like apps and books, pocasts and videos are another great way to learn more about dealing with mental health issues. The Mental Illness Happy Hour is a podcast that talks about everything from addiction to negative thinking submitted via anonymous surveys, podcaster Paul Gilmartin’s personal experience and interviews with everyone from celebrities to doctors. Or check out PsychCentral’s Top 10 Mental Health Vides of 2011.

9. Self-Care.

Self-care might not sound like a mental health resource, but it’s the best one you have. Even the smallest things you do each day can have a profound impact on your mental health. So make your bed. Have breakfast. Make plans with others and hit the gym regularly. You might be surprised at how much you can change your life.

You might still want to see a therapist – and there are several ways you can do that. Try talking to your provider about sliding payment scales, see if your employer can assist you, or find a nearby university that might have low-cost therapy from graduate students. But if you’ve exhausted all your options or just aren’t ready for a therapist, it’s important to remember that there are other options out there.

Liked this? Check out 10 Ways to Take Care of Your Mental Health!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Photo Credit: Lau_Lau Chan via Compfight cc

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