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How to Find Mental Health Support

Last updated May 15, 2024

Mental health is an important part of your overall well-being. However, it can be challenging to identify the right kind of support, especially during high school and when starting college. With the increasing pressure to excel academically, socially, professionally, and financially, it is no surprise that mental health issues are on the rise for students. Fortunately, there are various ways to not only find mental health support, but to identify what kind of support you might need. Here are some suggestions that can help.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential, and anyone can use this service.

Two people hold hands - How to Find Mental Health Support

Check in with yourself to identify the type of support you need

Take some time to reflect on what's going on in your life, the types of feelings you're experiencing, and how your body is responding to them. Trying to put words or a name to what you're feeling can be helpful in addressing those feelings and working to find support. 

Consider your preferences and needs

Everyone's mental health needs are different, and it's essential to consider your preferences and needs when choosing a type of mental health support. For example, if you prefer a more natural approach, you might consider seeking support from a holistic mental health practitioner. If you prefer more structured treatment, you might consider cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Talk to your school counselor

If you're in high school or college, your school counselor is a great person to approach for support. If you're in college, your school will most likely have a counseling center on campus that allots each student a certain amount of free or low-cost sessions per term or year. Stop by to learn how to make an appointment. Additionally, the counseling center may be able to help you identify resources in your community or refer you to a mental health professional who can support you.

It's important to note that any sessions you have with an on-campus mental health professional are protected by confidentiality provisions under FERPA. This means that you control access to your educational records, which include records of on-campus care, and parents or guardians do not have access without your explicit consent. Your mental health care through your college is confidential and private to you. However, FERPA applies primarily to educational records, not medical records, unless these records are held by an institution that does not conduct transactions that would make it subject to HIPAA. If you were to receive treatment from a mental health professional not associated with your school, those records would be covered by HIPAA.

Seek support from loved ones

Seeking support or guidance from loved ones can be helpful because these are people who know you well and can offer relevant advice. If you're in need of guidance or support, don't hesitate to reach out to loved ones who you feel safe and secure with, especially when sharing sensitive information.

While talking to loved ones can be beneficial, it's important to be able to recognize when support from a mental health professional is needed instead. Read more here.

Talk to a mental health professional

If you're unsure about the type of mental health support you need, consulting a mental health professional can be helpful. A mental health professional can assess your symptoms, provide a diagnosis if necessary, and recommend the best course of treatment or support. These professionals can provide you with a safe and confidential space to talk about your concerns and offer personalized treatment and support as you work through challenges. If you have health insurance, you can search for an in-network provider online using websites such as Psychology Today or GoodTherapy. If you are in college and don't have health insurance, read more here about exploring your mental health care options

Check out online resources

There are various online resources that offer mental health support. Websites like NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) or SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) have information, services, and resources for people in need of mental health support.

If you need immediate support, call a support hotline. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7 support to anyone in distress or crisis. You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741 for immediate help. These resources are free and confidential. 

To find even more mental health resources, click here.

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