Online Therapeutic Chat Alternatives
In this day and age, you have to look no further than your computer to chat with someone new. Sites like Omegle and Chatroulette make it easier than ever to connect with strangers across the globe. However, there are very few therapeutic alternative chat websites that allow strangers to connect with people who can listen and help them work through their issues.
While the list is certainly short, here are some websites that you should visit if you are looking for chat therapy.
(Disclaimer: Not all of these websites are guaranteed to provide you with any value or give you a positive chat experience. The person you connect to may not be equipped to handle your situation, and there is always a possibility that someone will respond poorly or negatively to your chat. Always take necessary action when this happens, seek out a new chat, and look for a new website if the current one isn't working for you.)
These first few suggestions are professional platforms and use trained volunteers to support users.
- 7 Cups of Tea
7 Cups of Tea is a website that was founded in 2013 by psychologist Glen Moriarty. 7 Cups utilizes trained volunteer peer specialists to provide free chat therapy to people in over 150 countries. Along with one-on-one chats, 7 Cups also provides group chat therapy for several areas and gives users an option to chat with a licensed therapist for a monthly fee. While other sites only allow you to connect with volunteers once, 7 Cups allows you to chat with the same volunteer on a regular basis should both parties choose to do so.
iPrevail, which is similar to 7 Cups, connects users to trained peer volunteers for basic support. Unlike other sites, iPrevail allows minors to connect with volunteers as long they have parent or guardian consent. iPrevail couples their chat support with a support community and the option to take a basic health exercise test that provides users with personalized online therapy programs based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Should you ever choose to be a volunteer for the site, iPrevail adds extra incentive in the form of Amazon gift cards.
IMAlive is an online chat resource that is part of the Kristin Brooks Hope Center, a non-profit organization with an emphasis on spreading awareness and educating others about suicide prevention. IMAlive consists of trained and certified volunteers who can handle extremely difficult situations that include suicidal ideation, trauma around violence, and family issues. If you are struggling with severe issues that can't be handled by volunteers in the websites above, IMAlive is the chat resource that you need to visit.
These next suggestions do not use trained volunteers. Practice caution when using these platforms.
BlahTherapy is a basic chat service that can be best compared to Omegle. Listeners on this platform have no training and act instead as a friend who will let you vent. For those who have minor issues to discuss, this site should be sufficient. For those who may be dealing with heavier issues, it is not recommended that you use this site. Instead, you should visit one of the sites mentioned in the previous section. BlahTherapy also offers a $25 pay-as-you-go plan for those who enjoy the service but who would prefer to speak to a licensed therapist.
MellowTalk is a website founded in 2017 that was "built on the kindness of strangers." Like BlahTherapy, MellowTalk is a simple site that allows a listener and talker to connect with each other. This website also features a reward system for talkers and listeners. Talkers can give thanks and other rewards to listeners that help improve the community and the listeners as a whole. MellowTalk is free but is also not recommended for people who need the assistance of a mental health professional.
Huddle, unlike many of the other alternatives mentioned on this list, is a free iOS application that allows you to join groups, share videos about personal experiences, and chat with other users in your groups. They have a zero tolerance for bullying and some of the groups that you can join include:
- LGBTQ groups
- Anxiety groups
- Depression groups
- Eating disorder groups
- Addiction groups
- The Comfort Spot
The Comfort Spot is a website designed by the creators of the Quiet Place Project that connects users going through similar situations. Although it's more of a community than a chat room, people still can chat with others about mental health topics. If you enjoy this website, you may enjoy many of the other resources that the Quite Place Project creators have to offer.
- HopeNet 360
HopeNet 360 is another online crisis chat website that connects users with spiritual coaches. This website is available for everyone over the age of 13 and is filled with caring volunteers. However, the site operators recommend that anyone who is feeling suicidal should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or talk to one of their crisis counselors over the phone. Both of the numbers for these resources are listed in the description of the website.
- Chat now
If you don't mind conversations that involve religion, Chatnow is a chat resource that gives people the opportunity to receive advice from Christian volunteers. Their chat services base much of their advice on the Bible, and they advise on subjects from depression to alcohol abuse. Still, they state on their website that their volunteers are not equipped to handle mental illness and that visitors should seek out help from a professional if they are dealing with something beyond the volunteer's scope.
The most important thing to remember when reading through this article and visiting some of these sites is that this article does not cover counseling resources. Despite what websites may tell you, chat therapy with volunteers and chat therapy with a real therapist or counselor is not the same thing. While many of these websites do provide their counseling resources, I've only mentioned the websites in regards to their online chat services.
If you are looking for online counseling, that is an entirely different story. However, I would recommend visiting https://www.betterhelp.com/start/. Betterhelp is a website that offers online counseling and is well-known for its services. On their website, in fact, they state that they are the world's largest e-counseling platform and that their mission is "Making professional counseling accessible, affordable, convenient - so anyone who struggles with life's challenges can get help, anytime, anywhere." They also offer some of their services for free.
To start with a counselor, click on the link above. This will take you to a short questionnaire that will help you to connect with the right counselor for you!