How important is mental health? Type the phrase “online resources for mental health” into the Google search bar, and you’ll get 988,000,000 results. Overall, mental health impacts our ability to develop positive habits that promote physical wellbeing. Thus, its importance can’t be over-emphasized.
That said, it’s not without irony that the World Health Organization (WHO) proclaimed 2020 The Year of the Nurse in January. At the end of Q1, March came in like a lion, bringing with it the scourge of a viral pandemic.
There’s general agreement that 2020 will go down in history as a watershed year. A Google search for the phrase “2020 has been a difficult year” nets an astounding 1,860,000,000 results.
Certainly, the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the wellbeing of global citizens and devastated the economies of nations. Consequently, millions find themselves struggling with mental health challenges.
Fortunately, there are many online resources for mental health that can offer necessary support and assistance during these trying times.
Understanding the Six Components of Mental Well-Being
Before diving into our list of online resources for mental health, it helps to define the elements of positive psychological well-being.
Doing so can help us identify deficiencies in mind, body, and spirit at any given point in time.
The six components that contribute to positive mental health are:
- Autonomy: A positive sense of identity is an essential ingredient in mental wellbeing.
- Environmental Mastery: Going with the flow and refusing to be a victim of circumstances empowers the self.
- Life Purpose: Rejecting flawed belief systems and pursuing a fulfilling life establishes a strong sense of purpose.
- Personal Growth: Taking on new challenges creates a sense of excitement and strengthens the spirit.
- Positive Relationships: Developing positive relationships creates opportunities for practicing affection, empathy, and intimacy.
- Self-Acceptance: Acknowledging one’s humanity is undoubtedly critical to mental wellbeing.
Why Our Mental Health Suffers
However, just knowing which factors contribute to mental distress is only half the picture. It also helps to know what causes our mental health to suffer. As you may have guessed, a combination of factors may contribute to reduced mental wellbeing:
- Biological Conditions: Chemical imbalances in the brain can negatively affect one’s mental health.
- Experiences: Current stresses as well as memories of childhood abuse can carry lasting consequences.
- Genetics: Unquestionably, family history matters. Having family members with anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder increases your own risk of mental health issues.
- Isolation: Not surprisingly, prolonged periods of isolation can negatively impact mental health.
- Medical Conditions: Dealing with chronic health problems can lead to despondency and increased stress.
- Substance Abuse: Excessive use of alcohol and/or drugs negatively impacts both physical and mental health.
- Traumas: Traumatic brain injuries may lead to mood tension and depression.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic malaise, we find three of the above factors —experiences, isolation, and medical conditions — dominating the national conversation on health and wellbeing.
Additionally, news headlines continue to highlight increased substance abuse during this period, making four of the above seven factors likely candidates for contributing to declining mental health among the general population.
Your Guide to Online Resources for Mental Health
Has COVID-19 increased your feelings of isolation? Fortunately, the Internet keeps us connected to the rest of the world.
Of course, entertainment zones like Netflix and online shopping platforms like Amazon have their place. However, those seeking more meaningful assistance also find the Internet a valuable resource.
Below, we offer a list of the top 10 online resources for mental health. The good news is that many of these mental health resources are free, which is particularly helpful for millions of unemployed workers experiencing financial hardship.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) is a global non-profit organization. For more than four decades, it has been “dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, and co-occurring disorders through education, practice, and research.”
The ADAA website offers more than 19,000,000 pages of helpful information related to anxiety and depression. In addition, more than 1,800 ADAA professionals provide valuable information in the form of blog posts, web content, and webinars.
Unquestionably, the ADAA website remains one of the leading online resources for mental health. As a matter of fact, it receives over 11 million web visitors each year.
In particular, there are extensive sections on the following mental health topics:
ADAA also offers a monthly newsletter (“Triumph”) which features additional resources, new data, and updates about anxiety, depression, and co-existing disorders. The newsletter also provides helpful tips for coping with these disorders.
Finally, and perhaps most important of all, is the Anxiety and Depression Forum, where you can meet others facing similar struggles. Knowing that you aren’t alone can be an invaluable aid in your healing.
APA (American Psychiatric Association) is one of the best online resources for mental health. It also offers a national directory of psychiatrists. Note, however, that the directory is an opt-in service, so it isn’t representative of the actual number of psychiatrists working in your area.
Generally, the APA doesn’t offer referrals to psychiatrists, but the website can help in your search for one.
Of greater value than the online directory is the extensive library of mental health topics that offer in-depth information about issues such as:
As you can see, this partial list of mental health topics is particularly relevant to those affected by the pandemic. Each section offers blog posts, FAQs, news links, and other resources. In light of COVID-19, information is updated to keep abreast of new healthcare trends and developments.
3) GLBT Near Me
According to a Reuters report in March 2020, gay and transgender individuals have a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than the general population. This is due to the fact that this group also has a higher risk of cancer and HIV.
These illnesses frequently weaken immune systems, consequently making members of the GLBT community more likely to contract COVID-19.
At GLBT Near Me, you’ll find a massive database that offers a collection of more than 15,000 GLBT resources, including the closest youth groups, support services, and community centers.
For more accurate results, use category filters like:
- Community Centers
This organization offers two distinct hotlines for its clients. Specifically, the GLBT National Hotline serves people of all ages, while the GLBT National Youth Talkline is specifically geared towards individuals who are 25 years of age and younger.
The organization’s tagline says it best: “If there’s nowhere else to turn, you can turn to us.” For privacy purposes, the National Hotline website offers a link that immediately transports users to a blank page in the event someone walks in unexpectedly.
4) Help Yourself Help Others
This website offers a self-screening service for individuals or military personnel and their family members. Help Yourself Help Others lets you take a mental health “snapshot” to reveal thoughts and behaviors that may be associated with a treatable mental health conditions.
If you’re experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety, consider completing the online assessment. Or, you can dive into screenings for specific issues, such as:
- Alcohol Use: For those worried about their drinking habits
- Bipolar disorder: For those experiencing mood swings
- Depression: For people feeling empty, sad, or hopeless
- PTSD: For those affected by past traumatic events
- Substance Use: For those worried about substance abuse
Finally, as the title of the website indicates, you can also help those you care about. If you’re worried about the well-being of a close friend or family member, complete the “Stop a Suicide” screening process. You’ll learn how to recognize the symptoms of suicidal behavior and how to begin a conversation with a loved one about getting help.
Another government organization offering information relevant to COVID-19 and mental health concerns, MedlinePlus provides statistics and research related to mental health. It begins by explaining the importance of mental health in every stage of life and then proceeds to describe the various mental disorders from which our society suffers.
Structured like a road map, the website can be used to identify challenges and find effective solutions for them. Of course, any section that doesn’t apply can be skipped. Both internal and external links offer the opportunity to follow specific paths of interest.
The outline of your journey is laid out as follows:
- Start Here: Provides links to general information about emotions and how they affect your health
- Diagnoses and Tests: Provides links about mental health screenings and what they entail
- Related Issues: Provides ancillary support for improving mental health
- Specifics: Offers guidance for anger management, loneliness, and self-esteem issues
- Statistics and Research: Helps you stay current with medical advances and practices
- Clinical Trials: Offers information about clinical trials related to mental health concerns
- Journal Articles: Discusses the latest studies in the mental health field
- Find an Expert: Offers links for services in the mental health industry
- Miscellaneous: Provides additional links for:
- Patient Handouts
In operation for more than 40 years, this is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization in operation today. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) began in 1979 when a small group of concerned families gathered to discuss and develop strategies for raising awareness and increasing support for individuals with mental health conditions.
There are two ways to reach out to NAMI:
- Telephone: Call 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST
- Email: Send an email to [email protected]
NAMI provides a nationwide peer-support service that’s entirely free and offers information, resource referrals, and support to people affected by mental health conditions. This includes patients, caregivers, mental health providers, and the general public.
Those seeking more online resources for mental health are encouraged to visit the HelpLine Online Knowledge and Resource Center, which offers an extensive library and FAQ section.
Note that NAMI doesn’t provide advice, mental health counseling, advocacy services, or referrals to health providers or attorneys.
7) National Council on Aging
According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), 25% of seniors experience some form of mental disorder, including depression, anxiety, and dementia. In light of COVID-19 and due to quarantine rules, many seniors are experiencing more of these symptoms.
Fortunately, the NCOA website offers ideas, strategies, and solutions.
For 70 years, the NCOA has been successfully advocating for the rights of American seniors. In the area of behavioral health, the NCOA provides the following resources:
- Advocacy: In 1965, the NCOA supported legislation to establish Medicare and Medicaid programs. Today, the organization continues to advocate for seniors by lobbying to protect key provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
- Collaborative Leadership: The NCOA has helped form senior support systems like LeadingAge, Generations United, and the National Institute of Senior Centers.
- Economic Security: The NCOA founded the Senior Community Service Employment Program in 1968 and Senior Hunger Initiative in 2014, two of many valuable programs to assist seniors in staying financially independent.
- Healthy Aging: The NCOA organized the Health Program Institute in 1990 and the Better Choices, Better Health program in 2009, which promotes self-management of chronic conditions.
- Innovative Services: The NCOA supported the founding of Meals on Wheels, developed the Foster Grandparents model, and continues creating new programs to enrich the lives of seniors and their communities.
- Senior Centers: In 1963, the NCOA formed the National Advisory Committee, which focused on establishing quality senior centers across America. Today, the organization remains active in supporting senior centers.
In the area of mental and behavioral wellness, you can view previous webinars by NCOA speakers and learn about other behavioral health programs for seniors. You can also browse the Resources Library, which contains over 2,500 documents on a variety of mental health and social topics.
8) Office of Minority Health
A subdivision of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services since 1986, the Office of Minority Health attends to the needs and concerns of minority groups in America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced on July 24, 2020, that certain racial and ethnic groups have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Add this information to the fact that many minorities face other inequities — in the workforce, economy, and social sphere — and their risks of contracting the virus multiplies.
A quick overview of the website reveals six important sections:
- Cultural Competency: Dedicated to accessible care and services for people of diverse languages, beliefs, and practices
- Knowledge Center: Provides an online library and opportunity to sign up for a newsletter
- My Health: Provides access to MyHealthfinder, which offers personalized health tips based on age and gender.
- News: Highlights healthcare trends that affect racial and ethnic minorities
- Population Profiles: Provides information on diverse demographics and statistics on racial or ethnic groups
- Spotlight: Focuses on COVID-19 news as it pertains to racial and ethnic minority groups
9) Office On Women's Health
As a subsection of womenshealth.gov, the Office on Women’s Health offers a mental health section geared towards the needs of women. The website is divided into six major sections, each of which is filled with relevant and helpful information about:
- Good Mental Health: Offers guidelines for maintaining a good state of mental health
- Mental Health Conditions: Examines in detail specific conditions like depression and anxiety
- Abuse, Trauma, and Mental Health: Addresses the harsh reality of prevalent abuse against women and offers solutions
- Body Image and Mental Health: Provides tips and strategies to attain a positive and healthy body image
- Living With a Mental Health Condition: Offers strategies on managing and coping with existing conditions
- Get Help Now: Provides multiple directories for helping teens, young adults, and veterans
The website’s mental health resources page offers two more directories of external links: one for government services and another covering general mental health information.
A branch of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, SAMHSA is an acronym for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It provides a wealth of information concerning physical and mental well-being.
The organization operates 24/7 year-round and offers a toll-free national helpline (1-800-662-HELP) in both English and Spanish. SAMHSA specifically focuses on helping individuals and families struggling with substance abuse or mental disorders.
While SAMHSA doesn’t offer counseling services, it can direct you to local organizations and treatment facilities that do. All of its services are free of charge, which is especially helpful for individuals who are under-insured or have no health insurance. In addition to booklets and guides you can download, SAMHSA can also help you find treatment for:
- Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drug Addiction
- Behavioral Health Disorders
- Disaster Distress
- Early Onset Serious Mental Health Illness
- Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders
Other national helplines SAMHSA operates 24/7 include:
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Opioid Treatment Program Directory
- Recovery and Recovery Support
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Prevention
- Veterans Crisis Line
In 2017 alone, SAMHSA received more than 800,000 calls from people seeking help. Unquestionably, that number has increased significantly in 2020.
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Presently, many of our customers find that hemp enhances rather than interferes with their prescriptions. While more studies are needed to establish hemp’s therapeutic efficacy, the high number of positive anecdotal experiences from our customers indicate that hemp contains properties that promote mental health.