This work can be a joy, but it can also be really hard. Sometimes we need a helping hand to grab until we feel steady on our feet again. Please ask for help if you need it. One day you may be the helping hand for someone else.
Hotlines to Call in Crisis (primarily in US)
Please call emergency services (911) or a hotline if you are experiencing a crisis. People call hotlines for a myriad of issues. Trained volunteers are ready to help you.
On a personal note, I volunteered for a youth crisis line in college. The volunteers I learned from are committed to supporting callers. The people who answer the phones care about you.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255 or 1-888-628-9454 (en Español)
There’s also an online chat option:
The Lifeline is available 24/7, seven days a week. It is free and confidential. Their mission is to support people in distress, prevent death by suicide, and provide resources.
National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
1-800-931-2237 (You can leave a message if you call after hours and your call will be returned.)
There’s an online chat option: https://chatserver.comm100.com/ChatWindow.aspx?siteId=144464&planId=467
You can also text “NEDA” to 741741 in a crisis.
You’ll receive an automated text asking you to share what your crisis is and then be connected to a volunteer trained to help someone dealing with your crisis.
The helpline and online chat are available Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST, and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.
NEDA’s mission is to support individuals and their families who struggle with eating disorders. They provide free and confidential services, and their volunteers have extensive training.
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)
The helpline is available Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST.
ANAD’s mission is to alleviate suffering and provide support to those struggling with eating disorders.
US: 877-565-8860 Canada: 877-330-6366
The Lifeline is available daily from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. EST.
Trans Lifeline is a peer-support hotline run by and for trans people. Trans Lifeline is dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender National Hotline
The hotline is available Monday to Friday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST.
The LGBT National Hotline provides telephone, online private one-to-one chat, and email peer support. They also maintain a resource database with over 15,000 listings with information on social and support groups and gay- and LGBT-friendly organizations and businesses.
Seeking help shows that you’re on the path to healing. A trained professional can help you unpack what’s hurting you and find a way to move forward. Don’t buy into the lie that therapy isn’t for you. It’s for everybody.
That said, access to private therapy can be difficult for some because of the cost. So what are your options?
If you have insurance, check to see if mental-health services are covered. If they are, ask for a list of therapists in your area. Don’t be afraid to try a different therapist if you don’t click with the first one you meet.
What if you don’t have insurance or the funds to cover therapy?
- Check with local religious organizations. Some provide mental-health counseling to members. Do keep in mind that the therapy will most likely be shared through that religious organization’s lens, so find another option if particular religious beliefs are not for you.
- Find a support group. A support group will connect you to individuals with shared experiences and may help you find other resources. Doing an internet search is a great place to start. Also, visit the websites or call the support lines of the organizations listed in this section. Many have resources and suggestions.
- Some therapists offer tiered services and may offer email support programs, such as The Body Image Therapist (https://www.bodyimage-therapist.com).
- If you’re a black woman or girl, investigate Rachel Cargle’s Therapy for Black Women and Girls. She is providing scholarships for black women and girls who want to attend therapy but don’t have the financial resources to do so.
If you have the means, please consider donating to this fund here: https://www.gofundme.com/rachelcargle
- Call a national organization’s helpline to
get information about resources. These are not crisis lines. You will not be
provided counseling, but you can ask questions and get information about
resources in your area.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
24/7, 365 days a year, available in English and Spanish