Mental health support when therapy is not an option

In an ideal world, therapy would be accessible to everyone, mental health would be free of stigma, and the price of seeking help wouldn’t break the bank. Unfortunately, society is not there yet. According to Mental Health America, 60.3% of young people with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment. It is imperative that teens know of other resources they can turn to when they need help. Although not as helpful as a professional, these resources will always remind you that you are not alone.

1. Podcasts

Accessibility and a wide range of topics make podcasts a great free resource to turn to. Whether you’re looking for advice from a licensed psychologist or want to connect with someone else’s journey that’s similar to yours, podcasts are the place to go. Although the resources below are listed by disorder, you do not need to be diagnosed to use them. If you’re struggling with symptoms that match any of those listed, listen up!

2. Logging

I understand. Your first thought is probably, What am I writing about? This is the best part about journaling: you decide! Whether it’s a short list, elaborate paragraphs, or simple affirmations, as a writer you decide the twists and turns your pen takes. That’s right, pen. Journaling is not about erasing, correcting grammatical errors, or ensuring that every sentence has a verb, noun, and adjective. There is no pressure to “stay on topic” like in English classes, and digressions are encouraged.

Journaling is about asking yourself the questions necessary to identify what you are feeling, the trigger that led to it, and how to deal with it. It’s easy for your mind to go down a rabbit hole and spiral, but by journaling you can release all those feelings on paper and separate yourself from what no longer serves you. Often we tend to project our feelings onto others when we don’t have a healthy outlet. Journaling serves as a much-needed outlet for digesting how you feel, rather than carrying those emotions for the rest of your day, which will interfere with your ability to focus, build strong relationships, and achieve your goals.

If you’re not sure what to write about, take a look at the prompts below for inspiration!

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3. Warmlines

While hotlines are designed to be used in times of crisis, a hotline is a confidential number to call when you need help or someone to talk to. You can have a conversation with a trained person who has also dealt with mental health issues and who can understand how you are feeling. Most states have their own specific warning line; however, not all helplines take out-of-state calls.

Click here to view your state’s warning line.

4. Social media accounts

Social networks are an inescapable and endless fight. You feel like you have to have the apps, even if the endless comparison doesn’t do you any good, and three hours of scrolling later you feel guilty and unproductive – or is it just me?

Instead of trying to convince yourself to completely eliminate time spent on apps, turn them into a positive space. The content of your For You page and your Instagram feed is determined by the types of posts you allocate time to, which is in your control! Follow the people who inspire you, don’t beat yourself up.

5. Meditation

At a time when many of us dwell on the past or worry about the future more often than living in the present, meditation is essential. Although it’s hard to escape the endless thoughts that constantly bombard our minds, focusing on your breathing helps quiet your mind. Guided meditations incorporating mantras are a great way to start, as the mantras keep your mind from wandering while you focus on one or a few positive affirmations.

This advice does not replace or compare to seeking help from a mental health professional. However, by listening to podcasts and following good social media accounts, I hope you will realize that you are less alone than you think. I hope that through journaling you can ask yourself the necessary questions that lead to similar moments of self-discovery that occur with a therapist. I hope that by learning about crisis lines you will realize that you always have someone to talk to who understands what you are going through.

You’re not alone. If you or someone you love is in a mental health crisis and needs immediate help, dial 988.

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