How To Talk To Someone Online About Your Mental Health

Medically reviewed by Majesty Purvis, LCMHC
Updated February 10, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

When it comes to getting support for your mental health, not everyone you encounter online may be qualified to support you. The internet can be a great place to vent, meet new people, and speak your thoughts and feelings. However, seeking support for your mental health from people who aren't medical professionals may prevent you from getting the treatment you need.

You could talk to a licensed therapist from home if you hope to discuss your mental health with a stranger online. A review of the literature about online therapy showed that out of 16 studies with clients seeking treatment for various challenges, including addiction, anxiety, depression, and PTSD, 14 studies indicated strong working alliances between adult clients and therapists. This metric predicts successful therapeutic outcomes.

Discussing your mental health with a supportive online therapist may help you manage any mental health challenges you experience.

Telling Your Mental Health Journey With Others Can Help You Heal

Why Get Support From An Online Therapist Over A Stranger Online?

The internet is full of suggestions for improving your mental health. Telling your story in a free mental health chat room may help you find community with others who have experienced similar mental health challenges.

However, telling about your mental health challenges online may expose you to judgmental people and unprofessional advice, which may compromise your self. Studies show that social media may impact mental health negatively. That's why seeking help from a professional mental health expert may be more effective for improving mental health symptoms.

Some mental health challenges, like anxiety or depression, may respond best to targeted treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Only licensed mental health professionals are qualified to provide CBT, perform assessment tests, or provide you with a mental health diagnosis. Additionally, if medication is part of your treatment plan, you may need to discuss your symptoms with a medical provider first.

Suppose you prefer to discuss your mental health online rather than in person. In that case, several websites are specifically designed to allow individuals to speak with qualified mental health counselors or trained volunteer listeners.

These platforms can enable you to discuss treatment plans, trauma, relationships, life questions, or other concerns from the comfort of your home. Sites like these can connect you with qualified professionals who will put your needs first and keep your mental health information safe.

How Does Online Therapy Work?

From choosing a therapist to getting emotional during a session, there are a few aspects you may need to know about getting support for your mental health with an online therapist.

Choosing A Therapist

When choosing a therapist, you may first want to verify their credibility. A licensed therapist will likely display their certifications on their web page. They may also indicate professional areas of interest, like addiction or multicultural counseling.

You may also choose to find a reputable counseling platform where the therapists are certified and experienced. Platforms like these often offer a list of therapists you can reach out to. The process may work like this:

  1. You sign up for the platform.
  2. After signing up, you are given a list or matched with a counselor that fits your needs.
  3. You can review each counselor's profile to learn about their qualifications, specialties, and interests.
  4. If you need to, you can request a new counselor if the one you have doesn't work out.

Each professional may have different skills, backgrounds, state certifications, and overall beliefs about their practice and office. Once you've found a counselor you think you will feel comfortable with, you can begin scheduling treatment.

What To Expect In An Online Therapy Session

When you meet with a qualified therapist, you may discuss concerning symptoms, thoughts, ideas, or diagnoses that you have. To effectively utilize your session, you may consider what you want to talk about before the session begins.

During the first session, your counselor may ask why you decided to start therapy and what you hope to gain from it. In subsequent sessions, you may delve deeper into your impressions, experiences, and potential traumas.

Your counselor might give you homework or worksheets to try between sessions. These exercises may be things to read, activities to try, or challenges for yourself. Write down your experiences between sessions so you can easily tell them with your therapist later. If you have questions or concerns that arise between sessions, you may be able to ask them with your therapist via chatrooms or text messages between sessions, depending on which therapy platform you use. In many cases, your therapist will respond to your message when able.

If you're nervous about expressing your feelings with a counselor, it may help to create a comfortable environment for your first session. Because your therapy is taking place online, you can attend your session from your bedroom, in front of your fireplace, in your home office, or outdoors. Studies show that many individuals report feeling most comfortable and safe at home.

Wherever you choose to attend your session, ensure you have a good internet connection. You might also choose to bring snacks, tea, or tissues.

Expressing Emotions In Sessions

It may feel challenging to express your emotions in a therapy session, but when you are ready, you can reach out. No matter what feelings you reveal, your counselor should not use your emotional expression against you. The counseling session is a safe place to discuss your mood, medication history (such as antidepressants), symptoms, treatments, and daily activities.

Online strangers may take advantage of you when you feel vulnerable or leave the chatroom when you need their support the most. A licensed therapist is trained to support you through the emotional ups and downs of a therapy session.

Counseling Creates A Safe Emotional Space

In an individual counseling session, it can be normal to discuss yourself. The session is usually dedicated to you and no one else. While friends, family, or strangers in an online chat room may grow impatient listening to your mental health challenges, your counselor may be open to hearing these feelings.

Each session in individual therapy is focused on your needs, and you may spend each session discussing anything on your mind. If you're partaking in couples therapy online, you may tell the conversation with your partner/s. If you try family therapy, you may speak the conversation with your family.

Your Relationship With Your Counselor

Building strong, healthy relationships with strangers online can be challenging because you may not be sure they are who they say they are. Your relationship with your therapist might be different. A therapeutic relationship is a professional and healing connection that can allow you to grow over time.

You may feel your therapist is your teacher, mentor, or confidant. While your counselor should continue to maintain professional distance, you might become comfortable enough with them to tell what you need to heal and grow as a person.

Telling Your Mental Health Journey With Others Can Help You Heal

Does Online Therapy Work?

Research confirms that online therapy can be as effective as in-person therapy, particularly in treating anxiety, depression, and stress. Engaging in treatment from the comfort of your home may help you feel more comfortable opening up to someone new for the first time.

Online Therapy Platforms

The internet has often made it easier to find help for those seeking to improve their mental health. However, self-help information online, such as articles, may not be backed by research, and not everyone giving mental health advice online is licensed to help others.

If you're considering online therapy or other mental health services, online therapy platforms like BetterHelp have numerous licensed counselors and therapists who can help you reach your goals. The counselors and therapists create a nonjudgmental space for clients to express a full range of emotions and thoughts.

You can meet with a therapist online via video chat or online chat services at a time convenient for you. Read below for counselor reviews from users with similar concerns.

Counselor Reviews

"This is my first time in therapy, so I wasn't quite sure what I was going to get out of it or really what I needed. I went into this experience looking for an attentive ear to help me process my life. Coming out of quarantine, I was left really mentally and emotionally shaken and defeated. At the time, I didn't realize I could feel so supported through a computer screen. I have been so happy to have made the leap to doing online therapy. Maggie is nothing but attentive, patient, and helpful every session. I feel listened to, respected, and invested in no matter the topic of discussion. I respect her perspective and so appreciate what she's already done to help me. Thank you so much Maggie!"

"Judy is truly amazing. She listens and offers great advice and is very calming. I'm grateful to have found her and not given up in trying online counseling."


Reaching out for support online can be unsafe in some situations. However, by trying online therapy or reaching out to a telehealth therapist, you can find professional help from experts with the authority and experience needed to treat the concerns you bring to the table.

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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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