Mental Health Support When Therapy Isn't an Option


July 30, 2022

In an ideal world, therapy would be available to everyone, mental health would be devoid of stigma, and the price of seeking help wouldn't break the bank. Unfortunately, society's not there yet. According to Mental Health America, 60.3% of young people suffering from major depression receive no mental health treatment. It's imperative that teens are aware of other resources they can turn to when they're in need of help. Although they may not help to the same extent as a professional, these resources will always remind you that you're 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 tips from a licensed psychologist or hoping to tune in to someone else’s journey that's similar to yours, podcasts are the place to go. Although the resources below are listed by disorder, by no means do you need to be diagnosed to use them. If you struggle with symptoms that align with any of those listed, take a listen!

2. Journaling

I get it. Your first thought is probably, What do I even write about? That’s the best part about journaling— you get to decide! Whether it’s a short list, elaborate paragraphs, or simple affirmations, as the writer, you decide what turns and loops your pen takes. That’s right, pen. Journaling is not about erasing, fixing grammatical errors, or making sure every sentence has a verb, noun, and adjective. There’s no pressure to “stay on topic” like in English class, and digressing is encouraged.

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

If you aren't 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 warmline is a confidential number to call when you are in need of support or someone to talk to. You can have a conversation with a trained individual who has also dealt with mental health struggles and can empathize with how you’re feeling. Most states have their own specific warmline; however, not all warmlines take out-of-state calls.

Click here to view your state's warmline.

4. Social Media Accounts

Social media are an unavoidable, never ending battle. You feel obligated to have the apps, even though the endless comparison does you no good, and three hours of scrolling later, you’re left feeling guilty and unproductive— or is that just me?

Instead of attempting to convince yourself to eliminate spending time on the apps entirely, transform them into a positive space. The content on your For You page and Instagram feed is determined by what types of posts you allocate time towards, which is in your control! Follow people who inspire you, not tear you down.

5. Meditation

In a time where many of us are dwelling on the past or stressing about the future more often than living in the present, meditation is essential. Although it’s difficult to escape the endless thoughts constantly bombarding our minds, focusing on your breath helps to still your mind. Guided meditations incorporating mantras are a great way to start, as mantras prevent your mind from wandering while you focus on a single or a few positive affirmations.

By no means do these tips replace or compare to seeking help from a mental health professional. However, through listening to podcasts and following the right social media accounts, I hope you'll realize that you're less alone than you may think. I hope that through journaling, you'll be able to ask yourself the necessary questions that lead to similar moments of self discovery that occur with a therapist. I hope that through learning about warmlines, you realize that you always have someone to talk to who understands what you're going through.

You are not alone. If you or someone you love is in a mental health crisis and in need of immediate help, dial 988.

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Serena Thakkar
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Serena is a lifelong learner and journalist who is passionate about educating others and conquering the stigma surrounding mental health. She’s currently a freshman at Loyola University Chicago, double majoring in multimedia journalism and political science. When she’s not reading or writing, Serena loves exploring new restaurants and coffee shops with her family and friends in Chicago.