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.
For those of us concerned about a loved one, NPR has published an article of resources to guide you through helping someone who may be considering suicide.
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 service.) https://www.7cups.com/
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 directory. https://adaa.org/
Rehabcenter.net has put together a nice summary of what to expect within various treatment modalities – not just inpatient rehab. They may be able to answer questions about treatment and therapies. If you already have a therapist, work with them to identify requirements. https://www.rehabcenter.net/inpatient-rehab-centers/
Drugrehab.com has a good description of co-occurring disorders and the relationship between addiction and mental health issues. Many of us self-medicate. This page does a nice job of describing the dynamics. https://www.drugrehab.com/co-occurring-disorder/
Maryville University’s Psychology Department has put together a list of resources for U.S. military veterans with PTSD. The page also includes a great introduction to PTSD and living with the condition.
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 used http://www.healthadvocate.com/site/ . 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 marketplace. https://www.healthcare.gov/
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!