Updated: Jan 27, 2019
Here is a quick review of a few websites and crisis lines to use to learn more about mental illness and how to find support in your local community.
Resources to Learn about Mental Illness
Gena Abel 1/6/19
Over the past few weeks, we’ve discussed the benefits of going to therapy, how to choose a therapist, and self care tips for the holiday season. Now, let’s a take a different step to discuss resources that you can use to learn about mental illness and support options during a crisis situation.
Who should learn about mental illnesses and community resources to related to it - EVERYONE!!! About 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year. 70% of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14. Mood disorders, like major depression and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18 - 44.
Based on the prevalence and impact of mental illnesses, it is important to know basic info about it, treatment options, and support info. Everyone is impacted by mental illness, whether you are experiencing symptoms, your friend/family member has a diagnosed illness, or your tax dollars are helping to fund a mental-health related program.
There are so many websites that provide info on what mental health is, signs to look for if you think you may have a mental health problem, info on specific mental illnesses, and how to support yourself or a loved one that may have a mental health issue. Here are a few sites you may want to review.
A leading organization to learn about mental illness, to find support for living with an illness, and to gain increased awareness is NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They are one of the nation’s largest mental health organizations and they’re dedicated to creating better lives for Americans affected by mental illness. On their site, you can review information about mental health conditions, get involved to build awareness and reduce stigma, and find support as a person with a mental illness and/or a family member wanting to know the best way to support your loved one with an illness.
Another great site is MentalHealth.gov which is run by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. On this site, you can find excellent info about mental health myths and facts, signs and symptoms of common illnesses, and guidance for members of the community, such as educators, faith leaders, and young people. Their motto is “let’s talk about it” and this is a great site to use to start the conversation.
For our nation’s veterans, MentalHealth.VA.GOV has information specifically tailored to address the needs of our service members. There are resources listed that can empower veterans’ mental health, whether the concern is related to general mental health, depression and anxiety, PTSD, or substance abuse.
A life-saving tool you may need to use a crisis line. These lines provide 24/7, confidential, and free support for people in distress, as well as prevention information and crisis resources for you and loved ones. If you are experiencing an emergency or crisis, dial 911 or a crisis line for help and support.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255)
This lifeline (www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org) provides support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress across the U.S. Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your call is confidential and it goes to the nearest local crisis center in their national network, where they provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals. This lifeline is a leader in suicide prevention and mental health crisis care.
Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255, press 1)
This line (www.mentalhealth.va.gov) also provides 24/7 confidential support to all veterans, service members, national guard and reserve, and family members and friends of this group. You may call, chat online, and text for help. You’ll be connected with a responder with the VA, who may also be a veteran, and the responder will help you get through the crisis and then help you connect with the services you need. These services may be from your local VA medical center or elsewhere in your community.
National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233)
Another great support line is the National Domestic Violence hotline (www.thehotline.org). Advocates are available 24/7/365 via phone and online chat to speak with survivors of abuse, abusive partners, and concerned family members and friends seeking help for someone else.
Reaching out for help is the first step toward addressing and improving your situation, whatever that may be. The person on the other end of the phone is a trained professional who won’t give explicit advice on what you should do next, but they can help you sort through your options to determine the best one for you.