A Convenient Way To Seek Help: Mental Health Phone Services

Medically reviewed by Paige Henry, LMSW, J.D.
Updated March 27, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
When anxiety symptoms arise, it can be helpful to speak to a caring, compassionate person who may help you calm down and provide you with beneficial mental health resources. Hotlines, like the Crisis Text Line, NAMI HelpLine, Crisis Support Service, and TeenLine, can be excellent tools to help you in moments of anxiety and crisis. However, for more in-depth, long-term support, it’s generally recommended to reach out to a licensed mental health professional for help. You can do this by finding a local therapist or matching with one through an online therapy platform.
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Do you need extra support for your anxiety?

What are the best anxiety hotlines?
The best hotline for you generally depends on your immediate needs. Some hotlines specialize in specific mental health conditions, while others provide more generalized support for severe mental health concerns that affect your day-to-day life. In the U.S., these are some of the most credible hotlines for anxiety and related mental health conditions.

1. Crisis Text Line

The Crisis Text Line generally offers support via text message 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the U.S., and you may quickly connect with a live, trained Crisis Counselor.

According to their website, a crisis may not only refer to when someone is thinking about ending their own life*. The definition of a crisis can be wide-ranging, including an overwhelming response to stress, feeling nervous, or feeling restless. It may include any painful emotions and times when you need extra support. 

*If you or a loved one are experiencing thoughts of suicide, please know that help is available. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline anytime, 24/7, at 988.

2. Crisis Support Services

Crisis Support Services is another free 24-hour hotline. For more than 50 years, this organization has provided compassion and resources to people experiencing panic attacks, anxiety, substance use disorders, abuse*, assault, suicidal thoughts, and more.

You can call, text, or chat with the Crisis Support Services. Feel free to choose whichever mode of communication makes you feel the most comfortable. 

*If you or a loved one is witnessing or experiencing any form of abuse, please know that help is available. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline anytime at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). 


3. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine

During any difficult time, the NAMI HelpLine is available to support callers Monday through Friday, 10 AM through 10 AM ET, via phone call, text, email, or live chat. 

The NAMI HelpLine can be a more general resource that may assist people with anxiety and other mental health conditions. Their staff and volunteers are typically experienced, highly trained, and care deeply about helping people find valuable resources and next steps. They may be able to provide additional resources and contacts for local assistance as needed. 

4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline

SAMHSA’s National Helpline provides free support 24/7 throughout the year for those dealing with mental and/or substance use disorders. Trained counselors may be available to offer assistance in English and Spanish by calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357). These counselors may be able to help individuals navigate anxious thoughts and feelings of being overwhelmed. This service is designed to guide individuals and families toward the appropriate resources and treatment options.

5. Teen Line

For teens and young people with anxiety, Teen Line can be an excellent resource. This helpline is typically available via call, email, or text and is frequently led by other teens who can relate to callers’ concerns and answer their questions with honesty and care. 
If you have a teenage child, they can call this helpline for a variety of concerns and questions about anxiety, depression, loneliness, relationships, and other common hurdles of the teenage years.  
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Who should I call if I have anxiety?
If you have anxiety, you can call any of the free mental health hotlines or national helplines listed above, based on your specific needs and the urgency of your symptoms. You might feel anxious about a specific situation with family members and friends, or you might find that symptoms of social phobia are having a particularly severe impact on your well-being. 
Depending on where you live, there may also be local helplines for people with anxiety. You can use a search engine to look up “hotline for anxiety + your city” or call one of the national hotlines for guidance. Crisis Text Line, Crisis Support Services, the NAMI HelpLine, and Teen Line may be able to connect you to anxiety resources and mental health providers in your area. 
Are anxiety hotlines free?

Most hotlines are free of charge to users, ensuring availability regardless of one's health insurance status. These services aim to provide resources and offer support to anyone in need. Crisis Text Line, Crisis Support Services, the NAMI HelpLine, Teen Line, and other organizations usually rely on donations from individuals and charitable groups.  

What are the benefits of anxiety hotlines?

1. Convenience

While therapy can be an invaluable part of your mental health journey, it can take time to establish a relationship with your therapist and get into the routine of therapy. When you need help in the moment, crisis hotlines can be a convenient way to connect with a real person and find calm during an intense situation.  

Many anxiety hotlines are also available after standard business hours. Thanks to the efforts of their volunteers, some even operate 24/7. If anxiety is keeping you up at night or early in the morning, it can be comforting to know that someone may be available at all hours of the day.

2. Reachability

If your city or neighborhood lacks well-established, in-person mental health resources, anxiety hotlines can make it easier to find affordable support for your mental health. While hotlines may not be substitutes for professional therapy or medical care, they can offer further insight and connections to professional services, whether online or in your local area. 

3. Unbiased advice

Depending on your social network, you may rely on friends and loved ones for support with anxiety. Despite how much they may care, the people closest to you may not have the training or knowledge to assist with your symptoms. In this case, an anxiety hotline can offer unbiased, third-party advice from a more experienced, professional lens.

4. Treatment information

Many hotlines may assist with in-the-moment needs and help you create a treatment plan to get through a crisis. While anxiety hotlines are usually not substitutes for mental health treatment, they can often connect callers to qualified therapists or counselors and even help them find mental health services, including treatment programs and support groups. 
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Do you need extra support for your anxiety?
When should I seek help for anxiety?
If anxiety is keeping you from engaging in and enjoying daily activities, it may be time to seek help.
You might feel like you’re “used to” the discomforts of anxiety and can handle these daily inconveniences, especially if you’ve lived with anxiety for a long time. But regardless of how long you’ve experienced anxiety, the decision to seek help can be transformative, and there’s no shame in asking for support.
Support for anxiety disorders and other mental health problems
While it can be entirely your decision to seek help, people often call an anxiety hotline or another mental health resource after experiencing any of the following: 
  • A noticeable change in the severity of their symptoms
  • Anxiety symptoms that interfere with their personal relationships
  • Anxiety that affects their ability to perform at work, school, or other professional or social settings
  • New symptoms in addition to anxiety, such as depression or suicidal thoughts
  • Physical symptoms, such as poor sleep, digestive issues, or panic attacks
Eventually, it may be helpful to connect with a licensed medical provider or board-certified therapist, depending on the severity of your symptoms. An anxiety helpline can gently offer advice, reassurance, and help you feel more prepared to seek professional help. 
Seeking therapy for anxiety disorders
If you’re calling anxiety hotlines on a regular basis and feel like your symptoms aren’t improving, it may be time to look for a more consistent form of treatment. 

Digital platforms like BetterHelp frequently offer convenient and affordable professional therapy, so people with anxiety and other mental health conditions can seek help regardless of their time zone and location. You can schedule live video sessions and phone calls or use the platform to exchange messages and set up live chat. 

Compared to in-person therapy, several studies show that online therapy can be just as effective. One 2020 study assessed internet-delivered cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and found that patients’ health anxiety generally improved significantly after the 12-week program. Current studies illustrate that online CBT and other therapies can increase high-quality mental health care, especially for people with limited time and financial resources. 

Below are some reviews of BetterHelp therapists from people who have experienced anxiety and related issues.

Therapist reviews

“Susan is a compassionate and kind person. You can tell her anything without judgment. She listens intently, no interruptions, and gives neutral feedback in a way that can help anxious and depressed people view their own emotions with neutrality.”

“Jessica is the best! She listens and provides helpful feedback and insights. I feel less anxious and depressed since starting therapy with Jessica. She also takes the time to respond to messages with detail and care.”

Takeaway

When you need to talk to someone in a time of crisis, free anxiety hotlines may be available to help. These free resources can connect you to the people and information you need to start recovering from anxiety. You might reach out to the Crisis Text Line, Crisis Support Services, the NAMI HelpLine, or the TeenLine for assistance. If you need more consistent support, you may want to consider working with a professional therapist online or in person. With their compassion and guidance, you can develop a long-term plan to manage your symptoms and lessen the impact of anxiety on your daily life.
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The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.
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