As many of you are aware, I spend a lot of time on this blog discussing mental health and mental healthcare. My interest is twofold: I’m planning to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology, and I myself struggle with depression and anxiety.
A few days ago, someone wrote to me asking for help. Letter Writer had seen some of my posts about mental health and my interest in becoming a mental health professional, and wondered if I had any tips for finding and choosing a professional Fixer of Brains.
…and I drew a blank. During college, I managed to get on using my college’s counseling services (which were pretty good). After college, I’ve gone with referrals from family friends & colleagues, as I work with/am related to a slew of medical professionals. In this regard I am extremely fortunate; if I need medical care beyond what my primary care physician provides, I just ask my social circle and I get tons of referrals and tips.
But I don’t know how anyone else does it. I don’t know how I’d begin looking for a therapist in another city, if I wasn’t among old friends, among family, if I didn’t work at a university hospital, if I didn’t already have connections.
I wrote back to LW and explained that I wanted to help but was stymied. So, with LW’s permission, I’m crowdsourcing this question: How did y’all get started? What are some resources that have helped you?
Seeking help is difficult for a number of reasons, but one of the worst is that the act of seeking & acquiring aid can itself be a Herculean task. When you’re having enough trouble dealing with your existing obligations and your health, you don’t have much cognitive capacity & emotional energy to spare.
Perhaps we can help each other out. Perhaps we can help each other take the first step and get started.
I will be making some follow-up posts with links, etc. In the meantime, if you need immediate help, I’ve included a few resources below.
Even if you don’t plan to participate directly, please signal boost. Thank you.
(By the by, LW lives in New Jersey, and if you guys know of any community resources, etc, in NJ that you’d like to recommend, please let me know so I can forward it to LW.)
NOTE: everything listed below is specific to the USA, as that’s where I live, and I have zero knowledge of resources & programs elsewhere. I’m so sorry about the limitation, but I welcome folks to share resources/tips for navigating mental healthcare in their home countries & communities.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline – Phone: 800-799-SAFE (7233)
- National Sexual Assault Hotline – Phone: 800-656-HOPE (4673)
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK (8255) - a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
For support, referrals, information, etc:
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance – Phone: 800-826-3632
- Mental Health America – For a referral to specific mental health service or support program in your community. Phone: 800-969-NMHA (6642)
- National Alliance on Mental Illness – Provides support, information, and referrals. Phone: 800-950-NAMI (6264)
- National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Hotline – Treatment referrals. Phone: 800-662-HELP (4357)
- National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder – Phone: 802-296-6300
- National Center for Victims of Crime – Multi-language service available. Phone: 800-FYI-CALL (394-2255)
- National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders – Phone: 847-831-3438
- National Eating Disorders Association Information and Referral Helpline – Support services, help, and guidance to people struggling with eating disorders, their loved ones, and families. Phone: 800-931-2237