Millions of Americans deal with mental health issues including stress, anxiety, and depression.
Although it is best to seek professional mental health treatment, there are apps, websites, and other resources available to help you take care of your mental health at home, or between visits to your health care provider, irrespective of your ability to pay for treatment.
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1. Stress Coping Tips from the CDC
If you’re looking for a place to start, the CDC has prepared a list of tips for coping with stress. The resource page includes tips for maintaining mental and physical health, suggestions for connecting with community and faith-based organizations, and ways to help others.
2. Free Meditation Trial from Headspace
Popular meditation app, Headspace, provides a free seven-day meditation trial, and free links to hundreds of articles on topics such as sleep, movement, healthy living, and stress and anxiety.
Meditation and mindfulness app 10 Percent Happier offers a free trial of its guided meditations and practical teachings.
4. Text with a Crisis Counselor
If you’re in crisis and need immediate support, the Crisis Text Line provides 24-hour access to a trained crisis counselor over your phone. The program isn’t just for people contemplating self-harm, it’s for anyone who needs support dealing with intense emotional pain.
Crisis counselors are trained volunteers, not medical professionals, so they offer emotional support, not medical advice. It usually takes less than five minutes to connect with someone, and the counselor will stay on the line until you’re calm and safe, whether that means referring you to further help, or just listening.
If you’re looking for bite-sized tips for staying grounded and bringing more mindfulness into your daily life, the meditation app Calm offers a downloadable calendar with daily tips, exercises, and mindfulness challenges to reset and keep yourself on track. Tips might prompt you to take a break from technology, find a quote or affirmation that supports you, and make a list of things that make you feel safe. The calendar can be downloaded as a printable PDF, used as a wallpaper for your computer or tablet, or linked to your personal online calendar so that prompts show up on your daily agenda.
6. InsightTimer Guided Meditations
For an extensive audio library of meditations, talks, and spiritual music, check out InsightTimer. This free app offers collections of guided meditations and prayers from a wide range of faith traditions, from Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism, to Shinto and Kabbalah, as well as science-based content, like meditations for headaches and sleep.
You can search for programs targeting specific areas of concern, including stress and anxiety, grief, and parenting. The app also offers special collections with meditations to help kids stay calm and get to sleep.
7. Online Tools and Apps From the VA
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers many free online tools and apps, which are available for free to everyone. The PTSD Coach Online is a free resource with videos, handouts, and other tools. Collections offer help coping with issues like worry or anxiety, trauma reminders, sadness or hopelessness, and disconnection from people. Resources are also available on the PTSD Coach app, which provides tools ranging from relaxation skills and positive self-talk to anger management tools.
The VA’s Mindfulness Coach app is designed to help with the practice of mindfulness (grounding yourself in the present moment), by offering mindfulness exercises, along with strategies to overcome challenges to mindfulness practice, and reminders to support mindfulness practice.
The CBT-i Coach is also available to anyone who is currently engaged in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for insomnia, or those who suffer from insomnia and would like to improve sleep habits. It guides users through the process of developing better sleep routines while providing strategies that are proven to alleviate insomnia.
8. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s YouTube Videos
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) offers dozens of videos on coping, and dealing with anxiety, and depression, led by psychologists and mental health clinicians on its Youtube channel. Videos include tips for coping with specific fears and anxieties including financial stress, health anxiety, and managing emotional rollercoasters.
9. Breathe2Relax Portable Stress Management Tool
Created by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, the Breathe2Relax app offers instructions for reducing stress on the body, using practice exercises such as diaphragmatic breathing. As a stand-alone tool to help stabilize your mood, manage anxiety, or control anger, Breathe2Relax aims to help reduce your body’s fight or flight stress response.
10. National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine offers free, nationwide peer support Monday through Friday from 10 am-6 pm EST. The hotline provides resource referrals and support to those living with mental illness, or caretakers of those with mental illness. To contact the NAMI HelpLine, call 800-950-6264. Keep Your Mental Health in Check While many resources can help you practice self-care and manage your mental health, it may not always be enough. You should always notify your health care provider immediately.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, stress, fear, or depression, reach out for help. There is no shame in asking for help or mental health support.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1–800–273–8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. You may also reach out to the Samaritans: Call or text (877) 870-HOPE (4673).
Ilima Loomis is a freelance writer and journalist who specializes in writing about health care, HR, science, travel, and Hawaii. You can find more of her work at ilimaloomis.com. Ilima is a regular contributor to the RxSaver blog.
Dr. Amy Kearney
Amy Kearney earned her Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Doctoral degrees in Psychology from Azusa Pacific University in the Los Angeles area. She is a licensed clinical psychologist and has worked for one of the nation’s largest HMOs since 2002. She currently specializes in pain management and gets great joy from helping individuals maximize their quality of life and functioning while living with chronic conditions.
The information on this site is generalized and is not medical advice. It is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your healthcare professional. Always seek the advice of your healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard seeking advice or delay in seeking treatment because of something you have read on our site. RxSaver makes no warranty as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of this information.
If you are in crisis or you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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