There Is Affordable Mental Health Care Out There — Here's How To Access It

This week’s roundup isn’t so much a top 10, since this isn’t ranked, and there’s way more than we can cover, but here are ten of our favorite mental health resources to keep handy for you or someone you love who may need someone to talk to, whatever the reason.

10. Dial 211

Not enough people know that most municipal areas have a 211 service you can dial to find out about mental health, counseling, or other resources available in your community and beyond. We mentioned them in our guide to finding someone to talk to when you can’t afford therapy, and the FCC’s “Dial 211" info page has a wealth of information about what you can learn when you call them.

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The beautiful thing about 211 is that while they don’t offer mental health and counseling services directly in any way, they absolutely have directories of those services that they can refer you to. 211 is free, and almost always staffed by real people who are willing to help you (like one of our commenters here!) but some of the services they have access to aren’t, so keep that in mind.

9. Mental Health America

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Mental Health America, formerly the National Mental Health Association, is a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of people living with mental illness. The organization has offices and branches around the country, and a comprehensive “finding help” tool that includes self-assessment tools, links to finding someone in your community to talk to, and even tips on how to make the most of your relationship with a therapist or social worker, as well as a crisis number you can call in case of emergency (

1-800-273-TALK).

Additionally, Mental Health America offers resources beyond just therapy and medication—they’ll help with other aspects of your life as well that may be impacted by mental health issues. You can read more about their other programs here.

8. MentalHealth.gov

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MentalHealth.gov, for as long as it exists, serves as a catch-all location for mental health programs, resources, and even studies and evidence-based articles that can help you find someone to talk to. There are detailed pieces on what to look for in yourself or someone you know that may be an indicator that person is dealing with an undiagnosed issue, and even resources for people who know a loved one who’s in treatment or could use help, and how to handle their own feelings about that.

Whether you need immediate help, you’re a veteran struggling with PTSD or another mental health challenge, or you’re just looking for information on how to manage the complex web of health insurance and mental health offerings, there are resources to help you. They even have an easily bookmarkable page with hotlines and live chat worth keeping on-hand if you or someone else is ever in a dark spot.

7. The Trevor Project

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The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth, in the form of its hotline (

1-866-488-7386) and text line (

Text “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200), its social network (called TrevorSpace,) its support center articles, and online chat. You can get a quick rundown of the options here, and their operating hours (the hotline is 24/7, for the record.)

In addition to the hotline though, the support center offers a wealth of resources and deep reading on a variety of topics, including coming out to family or struggling with their own identity, as well as other mental health issues like depression or bipolar disorder, or those contemplating self-harm. They’re also happy to accept volunteers or donations, and have a great series of videos designed to help people become “lifeguards,” or learn how to help at-risk LGBTQ teenagers.

6. IAMAlive

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IAMAlive is an online crisis network, and all of its volunteers are professionally supervised and trained in crisis prevention. Unlike many services (some of which are helpful and we’ll name later) where the listeners are volunteers or people just willing to lend an open ear, IAMAlive volunteers are trained to help you in almost any situation and can help you find additional in-person resources to help as well.

Volunteers come from (and operate) around the globe, and their online chat is just one click away. If you’re curious about becoming a volunteer, or what their volunteers go through, check out their FAQ. It’s extremely helpful, and very extensive.

5. The Crisis Text Line

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The Crisis Text Line, which we’ve highlighted before, is a 24/7 service that’s text only. Right now though, their website is absolutely packed with support numbers and additional information. Plus, texting lets you reachout when you’re away from home or a computer, feeling unsafe about accepting or placing a phone call, or discreetly if you need to. Simply

text 741-741 with the message “START” to get started. You’ll have to provide a couple of details, but after that you’re connected with someone who can help.

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Some of the responses are a bit algorithmic, designed to gague the type of issue you’re experiencing and at what point they sould connect you with a crisis counselor, and they always wholeheartedly suggest following up with a professional who can help you after the crisis has passed.

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4. ReachOut

ReachOut is a free social network, available for iOS and for Android, ideal for people on the go, or who would rather get help and connect with others on their phones instead of making phone calls or using desktop live chat services. It’s also a support network full of people who are struggling with similar issues that you’re having, and offer both communal options to talk to others about your problems or thoughts, or more urgent options to talk to someone when you really need help.

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Best of all, the service offers tons of support choices for people who struggle with particular health and wellness concerns, like chronic pain and illness, cancer, and other medical issues that of course, in turn, impact your mental health. It’s worth installing.

3. BlahTherapy

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BlahTherapy offers a combination of free and premium services that will give you people to chat with if you need someone to talk to. On the free side, you can speak anonymously to a listener at any time without signing up or registering for the site. It’s a bit like venting to a stranger who’s willing to listen—don’t expect comprehensive help or anything, but sometimes it’s nice to just be heard by someone who has an open ear.

On the premium side though, BlahTherapy can connect you with actual therapists and social workers who can talk to you via live chat, after being matched with someone who can help with the things you’re feeling or the issues you’re facing. It’s a chat relationship, of course, but they’re absolutely willing to help. You can try the premium service out for a week before you have to sign up for a subscription.

2. 7 Cups

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We ran down many of 7 Cups’ best benefits in our list of resources for people who need therapy but can’t necessarily afford a counselor. The service is still around and helping people, but also has tons of resources on its site to help you practice good self-care, group messaging and community support options.

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Of course, the site also has its signature free chat options to talk to trained listeners—essentially volunteers happy to share an open ear and talk to you about whatever’s going on—and even find professional therapists willing to help, for a fee, of course. The beauty of 7 Cups is that it’s well and truly anonymous, and even talking to a professional is free to start (subscriptions come later), and the service will even help you find a therapist in your area to connect with face-to-face. Even in the absence of all of that though, if you need someone to talk to right now, 7 Cups’ trained listeners are there to help. If you’re on the go, they have a mobile app too.

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1. These Crisis Support Hotlines

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In addition to the hotlines we’ve mentioned up to this point, here’s a quick rundown of some others you should keep handy, either for you, or for someone in your life who may be struggling:

The important thing though is to make sure that whatever you’re feeling or whatever your situation, keep in mind that someone out there can help, and someone out there will listen with kindness.

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Many of these services and resources are stopgap measures, designed to help in a pinch, or serve as a gateway to more robust, in-person help. For more, check out the National Association of Social Workers or the American Psychological Association’s locator tool to find someone in your area to talk to. Don’t let stigma hold you back, get the help you deserve to be the best, healthiest you possible.

Title photo by A Health Blog. Additional photo by Pabak Sarkar.


Lifehacker’s Weekend Roundup gathers our best guides, explainers, and other posts on a certain subject so you can tackle big projects with ease. For more, check out our Weekend Roundup and Top 10 tags.

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Source : https://lifehacker.com/top-10-free-and-affordable-mental-health-and-counseling-1788814933

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