Where Can I Find Help?

Where can you find the help you need? While there are plenty of resources out there for mental health and recovery, they’re not always easy to find… or affordable. (Plus, the Internet is full of scams!) This article is a starting point for getting help when you aren’t sure where to turn. This post offers practical guidelines; all of the resources in this article are trustworthy and reliable… and will point you in the right direction.

By Cassie Jewell, LPC, LSATP

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This post is not comprehensive; rather, it’s a starting point for getting the help you need. There are plenty of resources out there for mental health and recovery, but they’re not always easy to find (or affordable). The resources in this post are trustworthy and reliable… and will point you in the right direction.

If you need treatment for mental health or substance use, but aren’t sure how to find it…

If you have insurance, check your insurer’s website.

For substance use and mental health disorders, you can access the SAMHSA treatment locator. You can find buprenorphine treatment (medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction) through SAMHSA as well.

Consider using Mental Health America’s interactive tool, Where to Get Help. NeedyMeds.org also has a locator to help you find low-cost mental health and substance abuse clinics.

Additionally, you could contact your local Mental Health America Affiliate for advice and/or referrals.

If you can’t afford therapy…

EAP (employee assistance programs) frequently offer free (time-limited) counseling sessions.

At campus counseling centers, grad students sometimes offer free or low-cost services.

You could look into community mental health centers or local churches (pastoral counseling).

In some areas, you may be able to find pro bono counseling services. (Google “pro bono counseling” or “free therapy.”) You may also be able to connect with a peer specialist or counselor (for free) instead of seeing a licensed therapist.

As an alternative to individual counseling, you could attend a support group (self-help) or therapy group; check hospitals, churches, and community centers. The DBSA peer-lead support group locator tool will help you find local support groups. Meetup.com may also have support group options.

Additional alternatives: Consider online forums or communities. Watch or read self-help materials. Buy a workbook (such as The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Depression: A Step-By-Step Program) from amazon.com. Download a therapy app.

Lastly, you could attend a free workshop or class at a local church, the library, a college or university, a community agency, or a hospital.

If you’re under 18 and need help, but your parents won’t let you see a counselor (or “don’t believe in therapy”)…

Some, but not all, states require parental consent for adolescents to participate in therapy. Start by looking up the laws in your state. You may be able to see a treatment provider without consent from a legal guardian. If your state is one that mandates consent, consider scheduling an appointment with your school counselor. In many schools, school counseling is considered a regular educational service and does not require parental consent.

Self-help groups, while not a substitute for mental health treatment, provide a venue for sharing your problems in a supportive environment. (If you suffer from a mental health condition, use NAMI to locate a support group in your state. If you struggle with addiction, consider AA or NA.)

Alternatively, you could join an online forum or group. (Mental Health America offers an online community with over 1 million users and NAMI offers OK2Talk, an online community for adolescents and young adults.)

You could also contact a Mental Health America Affiliate who would be able to tell you about local resources and additional options.

If you’re in crisis, call the Boys Town Hotline at 1-800-448-3000 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. Alternatively, you can text HOME to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor.

Lastly, consider talking with your pastor or a trusted teacher, reading self-help materials, downloading a therapy app, journaling, meditation or relaxation techniques, exercising, or therapy podcasts/videos.

If a loved one or friend says they’re going to kill themselves, but refuses help…

Call 911. If you’re with that person, stay with them until help arrives.

If you are thinking about or planning suicide…

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or Veterans Crisis Line. Alternatively, you can text HOME to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor. Call 911 if you think you might act. 

If you are grieving…

Check local hospitals and churches for grief support groups; some areas may have nonprofits that offer free services, such as Let Haven Help or Community Grief and Loss Center in Northern Virginia.

Additionally, a funeral home or hospice center may be able to provide resources.

If you are a veteran, you and your family should be able to access free counseling through the VA.

The Compassionate Friends offers support after the loss of a child. Call for a customized package of bereavement materials (at no charge) or find a support group (in-person or online).

GRASP is a grief and recovery support network for those who have lost a loved one through substance use. You can find suicide support groups using the American Association of Suicidology’s directory or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s support group locator.

Hello Grief provides resources and education for children and adolescents who are grieving.

There are also online communities, forums, and support groups, including groups for suicide survivors such as Alliance of Hope and Parents of Suicides – Friends and Families of Suicides.

If you are a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence…

If you are sexually assaulted, call 911 or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 (or live chat). Find help and resources at National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

For male survivors of sexual abuse: MaleSurvivors.org

For domestic violence: The National Domestic Violence Hotline

For gender-based violence: VAWnet

For teen dating abuse: LoveIsRespect or Break The Cycle

LGBTQ: National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs for LGBT Communities

If you’re a victim of sex trafficking…

Access Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking or call National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 (or text 233733).

 

If you’re a victim of or stalking…

If you believe you are in immediate danger, call 911. Find help and info at Stalking Resource Center and Stalking Awareness Month.

 

If you can’t stop gambling…

Call or text the National Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-522-4700. Access screening tools and treatment at National Council on Problem Gambling. Attend a Gamblers Anonymous Group or other support group for problem gambling.

If you or a loved one has an eating disorder…

If you want to approach a loved one about his or her eating disorder, start by reading some guidelines (such as Helping Someone with an Eating Disorder from HelpGuide.org).

Contact the National Eating Disorders Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. (Alternatively, there’s a “live chat” option.) For support, resources, screening tools, and treatment options, explore the National Eating Disorder Association site.

Find support groups, recovery tools, and local treatment centers at Eating Disorder Hope.

Attend an Eating Disorders Anonymous meeting (in-person or online). You may also want to consider an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.

 

If you are engaging in self-harm and can’t stop…

Call 1-800-DONT-CUT or attend an online support group, such as Self Mutilators Anonymous.

Read personal stories, learn coping skills, and access resources at Self-injury Outreach and Support.

Join an online community like RecoverYourLife.com.

Try one of these 146 things to do instead of engaging in self-harm from the Adolescent Self Injury Foundation.

 

If you’re concerned about the drinking or drug use of a friend or family member, but they don’t want help…

If you’re considering staging an intervention, know that there’s little to no evidence to support the effectiveness of this tactic. 

Instead, read guidelines for approaching the issue (like What to Do If Your Adult Friend or Loved One Has a Problem with Drugs or How to Talk about Addiction). Learn everything that you can about addiction. Explore treatment centers in the area; if your loved one changes their mind, you’ll be prepared to help.

Explore Learn to Cope, a peer-led support network for families coping with the addiction of a loved one. Alternatively, you could attend Al-Anon or Nar-Anon.

Keep in mind that it’s almost impossible to help someone who doesn’t want it. You can’t control your loved one or force them into treatment. Instead, find a way to accept that there’s no logic to addiction; it’s a complex brain disorder and no amount of pleading, arguing, or “guilting” will change that.

If a friend or family member overdoses on heroin or other opioid…

Call 911 immediately.

How to recognize the signs of opiate overdose: Recognizing Opiate Overdose from Harm Reduction Coalition

You can receive free training to administer naloxone, which reverses an opioid overdose. Take an online training course at Get Naloxone Now. You can purchase naloxone OTC in most states at CVS or Walgreens.

For more information about how to respond to an opioid overdose, access SAMHSA’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit (for free).

 

If you want to quit smoking…

In addition to talking to your doctor about medication, the patch, and/or nicotine gum, visit Smoke FreeBe Tobacco Free, or Quit.com for resources, tools, and tips.

Call a smoking cessation hotline (like 1-800-QUIT-NOW) or live chat with a specialist, such as LiveHelp (National Cancer Institute).

Download a free app (like QuitNow! or Smoke Free) or sign up for a free texting program, like SmokefreeTXT, for extra support.

Attend an online workshop or participate in a smoking cessation course; your insurance provider may offer one or you may find classes at a local hospital or community center. You could also contact your EAP for additional resources.

If you or a loved one have a hoarding problem…

Read guidelines for approaching a hoarding issue with someone such as Hoarding: How to Help a Friend.

Learn more about hoarding and find help (support groups, treatment, etc.) at Hoarding: Help for Hoarding.

 

If your therapist is making unwanted sexual remarks/advances…

Contact the licensing board to file a complaint. Each state has a different licensing board. Additionally, contact the therapist’s professional association (i.e. American Counseling AssociationAmerican Psychological Association, etc.) Provide your name, address, and telephone number (unless filing anonymously). Identify the practitioner you are reporting by his or her full name and license type. Provide a detailed summary of your concerns. Attach copies (not originals) of documents relating to your concerns, if applicable.

Read NAMI’s How Do I File a Complaint against a Mental Health Care Facility or Professional?

 

If you want to take a confidential online assessment for mental health or substance use disorders…

Free and anonymous screenings: Screening for Mental Health, Inc. or Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Mental Health Screening

For additional sites, self-help guides, literature, etc., check out the resource page.

If you know of a great resource, post in the comments below!


Free Online Academic Journals for Mental Health Professionals

Peer-reviewed scholarly journals you can access for free online. Access the latest research findings related to mental health, addiction, and wellness.

Compiled by Cassie Jewell, LPC, LSATP

Updated November 12, 2018

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This list is comprised of 70+ academic journals that you can access online. Most of the journals are open-access; others offer limited access (with some free articles). All of the publications are related to mental health, addiction, or wellness. I use many of them for research for this blog. The research is relevant to all health professionals and to anyone who is interested in learning more about mental illness. 

Abnormal and Behavioural Psychology  
Addiction Science and Clinical Practice  
Addiction Professional
Addictive Behavior Reports
Addictive Behaviors  
Aggression and Violent Behavior  
Alcohol and Alcoholism
Alcohol Research: Current Reviews
The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Annals of Behavioural Science  
Behavior and Brain Functions
Bipolar Disorder 
BMC Neuroscience 
BMC Psychiatry
BMC Psychology 
Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotion Regulation
Brain: A Journal of Neurology
Brain and Cognition
Brain Disorders and Therapy 
The British Journal of Psychiatry
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health
Clinical Depression 
Clinical Psychology Review 
Cognition
Cognitive Psychology
Consciousness and Cognition
Culture and Psychology
Current Addiction Reports
Current Opinion in Psychology
Current Psychology Letters: Behaviour, Brain, & Cognition
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
Dual Diagnosis 
Emotion Review
Electronic Journal of Research in Educational Psychology
European Journal of Trauma and Disassociation
Frontiers in Psychology
Harm Reduction Journal 
Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine
Health Psychology Open 
International Journal of High Risk Behaviors and Addiction
International Journal of Mental Health and Psychiatry 
International Journal of Mental Health Systems
JAMA Internal Medicine
Journal of Abnormal Psychology
Journal of Addictive Behaviors, Therapy, & Rehabilitation 
Journal of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse 
Journal of Anxiety Disorders
Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis
Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Journal of Obsessive Compulsive and Related Disorders
Journal of Depression and Anxiety 
Journal of Drug Abuse 
Journal of Eating Disorders 
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 
Journal of Human Values 
Journal of Interpersonal Violence 
Journal of Mental Disorders and Treatment 
The Journal of Neuroscience
Journal of Psychological Abnormalities
Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy  
Journal of Sleep Disorders and Therapy 
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 
Journal of Traumatic Stress Disorders & Treatment 
Learning & Memory
Mental Health and Physical Activity
New Ideas in Psychology
Nicotine & Tobacco Research 
Nutrition Journal 
Personality and Individual Differences
PsyArt Journal
Punishment and Society
Schizophrenia Bulletin
Sexual Offender Treatment
Sleep
Sleep Science and Practice 
Social Media + Society 
Social Psychological and Personality Science 
Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment 
Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy 
Theory & Psychology 
Thinking Skills and Creativity
Tobacco Use Insights

Please contact me if you have a suggestion or if a link is not working!

Free Online Education for Mental Health Professionals

A list of online education courses and trainings for mental health clinicians (some offering free CEs!)

Compiled by Cassie Jewell, LPC, LSATP

Updated March 8, 2019

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Are you looking to expand your clinical knowledge or do you need CEs to renew your license? In-person workshops and seminars are ideal for learning up-to-date practices and the latest research, but they’re often expensive and/or require travel. And while there are plenty of online programs that offer CEs, most charge a fee.

The following list is comprised of over 50 sites that offer free online courses and webinars. Please note that only a few of the sites offer CEs. However, all of the courses offer opportunities to grow as a clinician and expand your knowledge.

6-Module DBT Course

An educational course designed for professionals to learn the basic principles for the diagnosis and treatment of borderline personality disorder. There are six 20-minute modules.

Addiction Treatment Forum: Online Continuing Education Free Training Modules

Trainings on Hepatitis/HIV/AIDS and medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction

The American Institute of Stress

The AIS Learning Center offers videos and online courses.

American Society of Addiction Medicine

Addiction medicine webinars

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Free monthly webinars. You can access archived webinars. You can also watch a six-part series for professionals on treating anxiety disorders.

Battered Women’s Justice Project

Access recorded webinars on sexual violence prevention and policy.

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

A variety of webinars. (Sign up for the newsletter to be notified when new webinars are available.)

CDC Train

Over 1,000 public health training opportunities, many offering free CEs. Create an account to access a variety of online courses.

CME/CE Courses on Topics Related to Opioid and Substance Use Disorders from the National Institute on Drug Abuse

Courses on opioids, opioid overdose, and opioid prescribing

DSM-5 Online Training Course

Free course through Relias Learning

Eating Disorders HOPE

View recorded webinars on topics related to eating disorders.

Free Mental Health Webinars

SocialWork.Career posts a list of free webinars every month

Free Online Psychology Courses from Top Universities

LearningPath.org provides links to a variety of psychology courses

FUTURES Without Violence

View recorded webinars on topics relating to violence against women and children.

Health e Knowledge

Free online courses on a variety of topics including clinical supervision, substance use, and behavioral health. You must create a free account and login to access the courses.

Healthy Minds

A public television series on mental health (and ending stigma)

Homeless Resource Center

A SAMHSA site. Register to access free trainings on topics related to homelessness and behavioral health. Free CEUs offered for NAADAC after passing the post-course quiz.

Indiana Prevention Resources Center

Webinars and online modules on drug education and treatment. You must register to access the courses. Free CEUs.

Institute for Research, Education, and Training in Addictions

Register for a free account to access web-based training (webinars and online courses) on addiction and recovery topics. Free CEUs for NAADAC and Social Work.

International Society for Bipolar Disorders

Free webinars. The site also offers videos and tools for clinicians.

Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy

IPSRT is an evidence-based treatment for bipolar disorder. With registration, this course offers a free 8-hour online training.

Knowledge Application Program (KAP) E-Learning

A SAMHSA site with free courses for mental health professionals. CEUs offered for NAADAC. You must register to access the trainings.

Magellan Health E-Learning Center

Professional learning opportunities. Many of the continuing education courses offer free CEs approved by the following organizations: APA, ASWB, NBCC, and NAADAC.

Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Academy

Free education (CE credits) for mental health, primary care, and nursing professionals. Create a free account to access online learning programs.

Mental Health America

Recorded webinars on various mental health topics

Mental Health Professionals’ Network

Australia-based site. Webinars on topics ranging from complicated grief, complex trauma, anxiety, LGBT issues, and more.

Mental Health Recovery

On-demand webinars on using WRAP – Wellness and Recovery Action Plan.

Military Cultural Competence – Free Online Course

75-minute interactive course

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Learn mindfulness with this free 8-week course

NAADAC

Webinars on addiction

National Center for PTSD

Training materials, online courses, information, and tools for professionals

National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma, and Mental Health

Free webinars and seminars. (You must register for the webinars.) The site also provides free toolkits and other resources.

National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare

Sign up for free online tutorials. (An access key will be sent via email you register.) CEUs offered for NAADAC professionals.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Center Network: TheLearning Center

Online courses and webinars on childhood trauma. CE’s for social workers, counselors, and psychologists

National Council for Behavioral Health

Webinars on various topics related to behavioral health

National Institute of Mental Health

The multimedia section has a variety of webinars and recorded series.

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Videos and CE opportunities

National LGBT Health Education Center

Free webinars on LGBT health issues

National Resource Center for Mental Health Promotion & Youth Violence Prevention

Access the learning portal for online learning modules and webinars, along with supporting materials and related resources.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

Online learning campus

NEARI Press & Training Center Webinars

View webinars on topics related to the prevention of sexual abuse

OMNI Behavioral Health Webinars

Offers both free and paid Webinars on a variety of topics, some offering CEs

Pathways to Positive Futures (Research and Training Center)

Pathways aims to improve the lives of young people with severe mental illness. Register for upcoming webinars or access previous webinars on-demand.

PsychArmor

Free courses on military cultural competence, PTSD, combat stress, and other related issues.

SBIRT for Health and Behavioral Health Professionals: How to Talk to Patients about Substance Use

A 3.5-hour self-paced course on screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment for substance use. Offers free CEs for NAADAC and NBCC (among others).

SOAR Works! (SOAR Online Course)

A free 20-hour course with seven comprehensive classes that teaches how to navigate the SSI/SSDI application process with clients with mental illness, who are at risk of homelessness, have a medical impairment, or a co-occurring disorder. CEUs offered for NASW.

Stalking Resource Center

Archived webinars

Stanford Center for Continuing Medical Education

Free health and medical courses

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

Online courses on suicide prevention

YMSM & LGBT

Access archived webinars on topics related to treatment services for the lesbian, gay, and transgender population. You can also access a monthly webinar series held on the 4th Friday of each month. CEs may be offered.

Zero Suicide

Readings, tools, videos, and webinars


If you know of a site that offers free courses or trainings, please list in the comments section!