Advances in technology and expanded connection to the internet have put more mental health resources in reach for some — including formats such as online chat rooms and forums, texting, and video calling.
This hike in online communication has led to the creation of helpful online communities and the ability to participate in therapy from the comfort of home.
In this article, we will explore a number of free or affordable online resources for those seeking mental health support or guidance. We’ll also be exploring the role that online therapy can play in one’s mental health.
Helpful Online Resources For Mental Health
Understanding the type of support you’re looking for can be a helpful first step when it comes to finding the right online resources for mental health. While there are quite a few online therapy websites available at varying rates, seeking support from a community of people who can relate to your specific criteria can serve as a helpful starting point or as a complementary addition to therapy.
Often, the simple act of browsing a mental health-related chat or a forum can remind you that you are not alone in your experience. Many people who participate in mental health communities online may welcome one-on-one conversations and can indicate if they are open or available to chat or provide support at a given moment.
Below are a number of community groups and online resources that focus on mental health and may offer support, friendship, or connection.
HeyPeers is a video and chat room-based app that allows people to join support discussions with others on similar journeys. All chats and meetings are generally led by site-qualified peers. While chat rooms on HeyPeers are free to join after registering, there is a small cost associated with certain group meetings.
You can visit www.HeyPeers.com to explore topics and find what you are looking for.
Mental Health America
Mental Health America (MHA) is known by many as the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit, dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental health conditions. You can find several mental health-related resources on their official website.
Additionally, you can visit their community forum here.
Reddit is a network of communities where people are able to dive into their interests, hobbies and passions. While Reddit is not a mental health-based community, there are a number of communities on the site centered around mental health discussion. The site is free to use and offers the option to browse topics without registering or creating an account.
Some of Reddit’s helpful mental health-based communities include:
While many of these communities are moderated, we do advise proceeding with caution to ensure that you have the safest experience possible. There may or may not be certified professionals available to support you, as this is primarily a peer-based site for general discussion topics.
Like Reddit, Discord can serve as a hub for people to connect with a wide variety of communities that focus on various interests. You can sign up for free, unlocking Discord’s native communication suite — featuring text, voice, and video chat capabilities.
While you can find a variety of mental health and support-based communities on Discord using the search function, The Comfort Spot may be a great place to start.
Though YouTube does not focus on direct connection and chat features, there are many free videos and resources offered by licensed mental health professionals on the site. Typically, videos from licensed professionals will include an indicator or verification in the form of a checkmark or disclaimer underneath the video.
If you are unsure of where to begin, licensed therapist Emma McAdam has a channel that offers guidance on a number of mental health topics.
If you’re in distress, there are resources available to you that can help. The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and discreet emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States.
You can call or text the lifeline at 988 or find additional resources and chat features on their website.
Staying Safe Online
While the internet can provide a variety of available resources for people seeking mental health support, it can be important to consider your safety and well-being when participating in community chats or forums.
When entering a public community online, it is generally recommended that you keep your personal details concealed— such as your full name, where you live and your contact information.
While most sites that include community chat features appoint moderators that work to keep mental health communities safe, it is possible for people with malicious intent to make their way into these spaces. If you are being harassed or bullied online, it is often best not to engage and to immediately report the activity.
Additionally, it can be important to remember that the majority of support offered in online communities is not coming from certified and vetted mental health professionals. It is not generally advisable to take medical advice or guidance from public forums or peers online.
How Can Online Therapy Support Those Living With Mental Health Conditions?
Participating in online chat rooms or communities centered around mental health can create a sense of community and peer support and serve as a reminder that you are not alone in your struggles and experiences.
Still, it can be helpful to receive one-on-one support and guidance from a mental health professional. Many online therapy providers offer available, and verifiable sources to get professional assistance from licensed therapists and counselors, all of which you can connect to from the comfort of your own home.
Effectiveness Of Online Therapy
According to research, the increase of approach to strong digital mental health intervention has been shown to have significant and meaningful positive effects on the well-being of those who participate. This success was seen as comparable to in-person therapy when it comes to the reduction of symptoms of depression, anxiety disorders and other mental health conditions.
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