How to Find Mental Health Support
Last updated August 17, 2023
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 the time of high school and early college. With the increasing pressure to excel academically, socially, and worries over graduating, finding jobs, or paying tuition, 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.
Check in with yourself to identify the type of support you need
Assess your symptoms and think about the concerns causing you the most stress. Take some time to reflect on what's going on in your life, what types of feelings or reactions are experiencing, and how your body is responding. Try to "name it to tame it" - labeling what you're going through can help you approach addressing the issue. You can make a list of the symptoms you're experiencing, how long they've been going on, and how they're affecting your daily life. This can help you better understand your mental health needs and name the specific areas where you need 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 inner circle, or trusted sources in your life
Seeking support or guidance from family, chosen family or friends can be incredibly helpful, because these are people who often know you best, and can offer relevant advice. However, it's essential to approach these conversations in a thoughtful and intentional manner to ensure that you receive the support you need and are looking for.
When initiating these conversations, be honest and direct about what you are going through. Explain what's bothering you, and how you're feeling, and try to be clear about what you need and how they can help you. It's also important to be open to their feedback and suggestions, since they may have ideas or insights you haven't considered.
Talk to your school counselor
If you're in high school or college, your school or college counselor is a great place to start. School counselors are trained to provide emotional support and guidance to students, help you identify resources in your community, and may be able to refer you to a mental health professional or provide you with other support services within the school or college. Many schools also have general practitioners on campus to help with health needs. See if your school has a counseling center - these are great places where students can engage in talk therapy, join peer groups for mental health, get tips and coping skills for dealing with stress or anxiety, and workshop other creative resources for managing mental health.
Consult with a mental health professional
If you're unsure about what type of mental health support you need, consulting with 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. You can search for a therapist or counselor near you using online directories such as Psychology Today or GoodTherapy.
You may also benefit from group therapy. It is a great option for people who want to connect with others who are experiencing similar mental health concerns locally. Group therapy sessions are generally led by a mental health professional and offer a safe and supportive environment to share your experiences, learn new coping skills, and receive emotional support from peers in a more casual atmosphere. Ask your healthcare provider, school counselor, or trusted friends or family members if they can recommend a local mental health professional or organization.
Check out online resources
There are various online resources available that offer mental health support. Websites like NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) or SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) have information on mental health conditions, resources, and services. You can also find online support groups, mental health apps, and self-help resources that can help you manage your mental health. If you need immediate support, you can call a support hotline. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7 support for 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 and can help you connect with someone who can offer emotional support and guidance. Check out this list of free mental health resources for college students we've put together.
You are NOT alone
Coping with feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression can be challenging, but finding the resources to help shouldn’t be difficult. Overall, identifying the right type of mental health support can take time and patience but it's important to prioritize your well-being. Remember, you're not alone, and there are resources available to help you. Whether you talk to your school counselor, reach out to a mental health professional, or utilize online resources, taking the first step towards seeking support is a significant accomplishment. With the right kind of support, you can manage your mental health and thrive in all aspects of life.