For many of us, reaching out for help is one of the hardest,
and most courageous, things we can do.
There is tremendous shame and judgement around mental health
and addiction in our current culture.
Though the stigma seems to be shrinking, we have a long way to go and
many of us do not have in-person support networks that are able to help us
through these challenges.
I am not a trained psychotherapist – just a person who also occasionally experiences mental health challenges.
My hope is that you find these resources helpful.
If you are feeling suicidal and aren’t ready to talk to
anyone – read this post https://metanoia.org/suicide/
It’s a scary place to be. You are not alone.
If you can get in-person help and have trusted people who can support you – please do that as soon as you are comfortable. Having people within my immediate circle who look out for me as I move through the world has been invaluable. I am incredibly grateful to have such a strong support network.
If you are not ready to reach out within your immediate
environment, or need to be careful and stealthy about getting help, the
resources below may help.
If you are in a dangerous or abusive situation – use the
guidance from HelpGuide.org to ensure your safety during this process. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/getting-out-of-an-abusive-relationship.htm
The Recovery Group has provided an international list of
mental health and addiction hotlines – http://www.therecoverygroup.org/special/crisis.html
7 Cups is an anonymous text-based therapy service. They provide community, trained listeners,
and informative resources. (Full disclosure: I happen to know one of the people
behind this service. That said, I am
impressed by what they have done and feel they provide a very important
In the Rooms is an online addiction community based on AA’s
12 steps. This community is run by recovering addicts. For people without access to AA meetings or
who hesitate to go – this is a good introduction to 12-step recovery. I found
the community warm and encouraging during early sobriety. https://www.intherooms.com/
SMARTRecovery is an alternative to the AA model of addiction
recovery. This approach appears to be a
viable alternative to AA. I have more
experience with the AA model, so I cannot personally speak to this approach or
the community. https://www.smartrecovery.org/
Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) is a
non-profit that provides resources for anxiety and depression, including a therapist
Your employment benefits may include an Employee Assistance
Program (EAP) as part of the package. These
services can either be helpful or harmful dependent upon the level of
confidentiality provided by the employer.
Fortunately, my experience with EAPs has been positive. Read the benefits
materials carefully to ensure you are comfortable with the level of
confidentiality provided with this program by your employer. https://work.chron.com/pros-cons-employee-assistance-program-12009.html
Employer-provided health insurance often include a separate
mental health offering. Check your
insurance documentation and resources for therapists covered by your insurance
and for information on the claims process. The claims process for mental health
often differs from going to the doctor. Many therapists are not in the
insurance system, requiring you to submit claims after payment. Read
your employer’s or insurance benefits enrollment materials to learn more. https://www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help/health-insurance
Some employers provide Health Advocates. This may be one of the most useful services
currently offered in employee health plans.
These people help you navigate the aggravation of medical billing. Very
important during a time when you may be vulnerable. My employer at the time
. Your employer may use a different
service. If a Health Advocate is
available as part of your employee health plan, and you can ensure
confidentiality, engage with them ASAP. They can help you translate the
complexities of insurance and health care when your patience and resilience is
low. The service I used assigned a
specific case manager who followed the case from first contact-to-resolution. She
prevented more than one insurance-based freakout and became a critical part of
my support network during a very dark time.
For those who are self-employed and are not carried on
another person’s policy – as of this writing, the US has a health insurance
If you are outside the US, check with your national government
for healthcare resources. The Commonwealth
Fund has a summary of health care system profiles for 19 countries – for those
who are interested. https://international.commonwealthfund.org/
From my experience, addressing mental health issues requires
a single-minded focus on taking care of yourself above all other demands – especially
during an acute crisis.
Give yourself some slack during this time.
Reach out to supporters (professionals, friends, specialty peer
networks) when you can.
Know you are not alone.
I’ll be rooting for you!