World Mental Health Day: Resources for those who need help and don't know where to start

World Mental Health Day is observed every year on October 10 to raise awareness of mental illness across the globe. The day also serves as an opportunity to destigmatize mental illness.

So how can those who feel like they need some help with their mental health get it? The task can seem daunting, especially for people who have never gone to counseling or therapy.

There are several resources available. Here's a roundup of some of the best (and easiest) resources to use.

Finding a therapist, psychologist or counselor

Sometimes the task of finding a person to talk to can be daunting. Here are some easy-to-use tools to find the care that's right for you.

Psychologist locator: Find a psychologist in your area using this handy search tool from the American Psychological Association. You can even narrow your options by things like insurance, specialties, sexual orientation specialization and language.

GoodTherapy: Find a therapist in your area using your zip code or city. You can filter your results by many categories on this tool as well, such as specialty, type of service and gender.

Psychology Today: Similar to the other tools, Psychology Today provides a searchable database of therapists and counselors that lets you narrow the field by gender, religion and other factors. In addition, this tool also helps you find treatment centers and support groups by clicking the drop down option next to the search bar.

Alternative therapy options

Talking or meeting in-person to discuss mental health issues can be scary. But being that it's 2018, people are no longer limited to traditional therapy. Here are some tools for people who may want to go a more digital route with their care.

Talkspace: Yep, you can message a therapist instead of having to go to a traditional in-office appointment. Sometimes feelings are just easier to write than say out loud and this tool sets you up with a personal licensed therapist you can message any time. 

Doctor on Demand: This tool connects users to psychologists or psychiatrists virtually. You can speak to someone about your mental health from the comfort of your own couch, all you need is an internet connection and a phone or tablet to get started. 

BetterHelp: Similar to the other two tools, users connect with a counselor by filling out a questionnaire and then get matched up with someone to talk to. And then you can speak to your counselor any time via the website or app. There are four ways you can speak to them at your convenience: via message, live chat, talking over the phone (how old school) and video conferencing.

Crisis services

While there's a plethora of resources, if you are in crisis or feeling suicidal, some tools may not provide the immediate help you need. Here are some options that will help immediately.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Feeling suicidal or having suicidal thoughts is a serious matter. This toll free number is 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). You will be connected to your local crisis center and get immediate help.

Lifeline Chat: The same organization above also provides a web chat tool if listening or speaking is difficult (or if you just find it easier to write). 

Crisis Text Line: Yep, you can also text for help. This handy messaging tool connects users to a crisis counselor who will help you via text. It even tells nervous users on the website exactly what they can expect to happen when they text the proper code to the number. 

Childhelp: This hotline is a resource specifically for child and adult survivors of abuse. Callers are connected to a mental health professional and even provided treatment referrals.

The Trevor Project: This organization is geared toward LGBTQ individuals, specifically young people. You can call, web chat or text to get some mental health help. 

Not sure if you need help?

For people who have never had a mental health crisis or maybe no one to speak to about it, it's sometimes difficult to tell what, if anything, is wrong. That alone can be an issue. Luckily, there are lots of mental health screening tests available from reputable organizations. Here's two to get started. 

Mental Health America: From depression to eating disorders, this website offers a lot of screenings for users to choose from.

Psychology Today: In addition to its searchable database for psychologists, this site offers an online assessment for people who want to take stock of their mental health. 

Paying for mental health care

Sometimes treatment without health insurance can be costly. Many of the resources above will discuss payment options with patients. But if you're really strapped for cash, one option is checking for federally funded health care centers near you. Lots of these places offer free or affordable mental health help. You can locate these centers at this website

Susan Gonzalez is a digital producer and reporter for the E.W. Scripps national team. Follow her on Twitter at @TheNewsan.

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