May is Mental Health Awareness Month: Highlighting Mental Health Resources You Can Use

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it would be dutifully appropriate to highlight a wide range of mental health resources for my readers during this observance for this special edition of the “Tools You Can Use” series.

Why Mental Health Awareness Is Important

We are all affected in one way or another by mental health, whether personally or from watching and being supportive of our loved ones, friends, colleagues, or neighbors along their journeys.  The “tabooness” of mental health makes it challenging for individuals who are in need of assistance and support to receive it, due to fear of judgment, discrimination, and ridicule.  The stigma surrounding mental health is far more damaging, and in some cases, life-threatening, than the issues battled each day.  Awareness observances like this one seeks to make those who are enduring mental health to understand that they are not alone, and that there are many people out there who understand and will empower and encourage them, and not shame or demean.

Mental Health Resources:  Making the Plethora Ways of Receiving Help Widely Known

Late last month, I came across an exhaustive list of mental health resources that individuals can use if they did not have the means to afford a therapist.  Greatist curated a resource list that consists of 81 apps, support groups, organizations, call centers, etc., that can fit into any budget size, as well as offer a variety of means to connect with peers who are coping with the same struggles and/or trained individuals providing support and tools to those in need.

There were many on that list I found myself absolutely impressed by, especially the online apps and forums that educate, engage, and connect simultaneously.  I selected the resources I felt would be of great use to my readers, especially those who are tech-savvy, Millennials and Digital Natives, those on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, and/or may not be in the position to travel or safely seek out services, but has access to the internet or phone.  I took the time to write mini descriptions for the resources I believed had unique ways of providing support and/or deemed most important to share within each category.  There are times where I simply list services and tools without descriptions because I felt that the name of the resource was self-explanatory regarding its purpose.  If you would like to learn more details about any of the resources listed below, as well as those that are not listed within this piece, do read and share the Greatist’s article.  You may also download and print off the list by clicking the PDF file link I made of the information:  81 Awesome Mental Health Resources | Greatist.

Without further ado…

Mental Health Apps

(Arranged by the different types of mental health focus with the apps aimed to assist with that condition.)

Intrusive / Anxious / Negative Thoughts

ACT Coach
Assists in educating users on how to tolerate negative thoughts by utilizing awareness exercises and providing tips on how to control self-doubt.

Price:  Free on iOS

Provides an array of games, activity suggestions, and gratitude prompts to address negative thoughts, anxiety, and stress.

Price:  Free on iOS

Tracks anxious thoughts and behaviors to pinpoint triggers, and uses self-help exercises to lower stress.

Price:  Free on iOS and Android


Depression CBT Self-Help Guide
Educates users about clinical depression and treatments, monitors moods, and provides techniques on relaxation and ways to challenge negative thinking.

Price:  Free on Android


Worry Watch
Tracks anxiety triggers and gives a guide on the outcomes of those thoughts that causes excessive worry.  This app is password-protected to secure data.

Price:  $1.99 on iOS

Stress management

Uses diaphragmatic breathing techniques to de-stress, and educates users on how the body responses to stressful situations and triggers.

Price:  Free on iOS and Android

eCBT calm
Utilizes many elements of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to assist users with stress, mindfulness, and relaxation skills.

Price:  $0.99 on iOS

Stress management tool that provides on-screen prompts.

Price:  Free on iOS and Android


Stop, Breathe, Think!
Focuses on mindfulness with the hopes users will be able to improve their mood, lower their stress levels, and feel more connected with the world around them.

Price:  Free on iOS and Android


How Are You
Mood tracker, and educates users to focus more on positive things.  It also allows for the export of data inputted in the app; this features gives users the opportunity to share information with mental health professionals involved in their care.

Price:  $9.99 – $12.99 for iOS and Android

Operation Reach Out
Mood tracker, also allows users to locate mental health services in their area through GPS.

Price:  Free on iOS and Android

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)

PTSD Coach
Assists users with PTSD symptoms by allowing them to select what issues they want to address, and provides insight on how to reduce stress, elevate mood, and change their mindset.

Price:  Free on iOS and Android


Quit Pro – Smoking
Monitors nicotine cravings and triggers, along with how much money users save every time they choose to not light up.

Price:  Free on iOS and Android

Step Away – Drinking
Encourages users to stop drinking by providing information on how to maintain sobriety and ways to cope with stress during triggering events.

Price:  Free on iOS

Connecting with Mental Health Professionals

An affordable option to connect with mental health professionals whenever users need to.  Users communicate with therapists through text messaging.

Price:  Varies.  Most popular Unlimited Messaging Therapy plan is $25/week (which is a monthly rate of $99.00).  On iOS and Android


Websites, Online Support, & Forums

Virtual chat crisis option for those in great need; ran by trained and supervised peer volunteers across the nation.

Online safe space for teenagers and young adults with mental illness.  Users have the ability to share their stories and experiences with diagnoses, find support among peers, and create an understanding that they are not alone in this journey.

Trevor Space
Online space for young people who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans*, and queer people; allows such persons to connect with others who understand their plight while navigating one’s identity

Other pertinent resources:

Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation

Center for Complicated Grief

Healing From BPD (BPD is Borderline Personality Disorder)

International OCD Foundation (OCD is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)


National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

National Center for Victims of Crime

National Eating Disorder Association of America

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

Stalking Resource Center

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)


Hotlines & Call Centers

Crisis Call Center  1-800-273-8255
Free of charge, 24-hour helpline.  Confidential, and aims to provide assist to anyone who finds themselves in emotional distress.

You can also text the Crisis Call Center:  text “ANSWER” to 839863 to connect.

GLBT National Help Center for Youth  1-800-246-7743
This resource is for young people who are under the age of 21 who seeks to connect with a peer counselor who is knowledgeable about struggles one may have with their gender or sexual identities.

Samaritan’s Crisis Hotline  1-212-673-3000
Free of charge 24/7 suicide prevention hotline.  This resource can assist those who may not be able to afford mental health counseling, but is in great need of having their issues heard by a caring professional.  Volunteers of the hotline are extensively trained in providing such a dire service to users.

Other pertinent resources:

Borderline Personality Disorder Resource Center  1:888-694-2273

Hair Pullers Anonymous Nationwide Phone Meetings

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders  1-800-931-2237

National Crime Victim Helpline  1-800-394-2255

National Domestic Violence Hotline  1-800-799-7223

National Eating Disorder Association Helpline  1-800-931-2237

National Organization for Victim Assistance  1-800-879-6682

National Sexual Assault Hotline  1-800-656-4673

National Suicide Prevention Hotline  1-800-273-8255

Obsessive Compulsive Anonymous Nationwide Conference Call  1-712-432-0075


Addiction Support Groups

Family and friend support groups of those who have loved ones with alcoholism issues.

There is even a specialized program for teens affected by alcoholism called Alateen.

Allows those seeking sobriety the space (via forums or face-to-face meetings) to design their own route to sobriety that fits them.  LifeRing is an alternative to the traditional “steps” to recovery methods.

Secular Organizations for Sobriety
Assists anyone aiming to be on the road to sobriety.  Is an alternative to AA, and meetings are held throughout the country and abroad.

SMART Recovery
Another recovery alternative that places more emphasis on empowering members, and less on spirituality and labeling one as “addict” or “alcoholic,” as found in other recovery programs.

Women For Sobriety
A support group for women only that is another recovery alternative model available in the U.S. and Canada.  Within its focus, WFS strives to boost women’s sense of self-worth, personal responsibility, and problem-solving skills.


Other Support Groups

Co-dependents Anonymous
Support groups that seek to assist individuals in creating healthy boundaries, stepping away from harmful habits, and developing healthier relationships.  CoDa is modeled after the AA’s 12-steps program and focuses on empowering members during their journey.

Emotions Anonymous
12-steps model that targets a wide range of emotions one may be struggling with, such as negative thoughts, loneliness, self-esteem and self worth, etc.

GLBT Near Me
Resource finder tool that allows users to be aware of and connect with free or affordable support groups that focuses on their needs pertaining to their gender and sexual identities.  Open for all persons to utilize, regardless of age, race, gender, and sexual orientations.

Heal Grief
Nationwide support service available for individuals coping with grief.  Great resource in finding individuals who understand where one may be in the grieving process.

Sidran’s HelpDesk
Resource that has the ability to work with anyone battling PTSD, which includes military veterans.  Those who may be in need of this service should contact this organization to get more information regarding support groups.

Final Thoughts

I urge all my readers to be proactive in advocating for better and more accessible mental health services in our communities, as well as reducing the stigma and pain associated with mental illness.  These are people – they are more than the illnesses they have.  They need our love and support, not our criticisms or prejudices.  Observances like Mental Health Awareness Month seeks to create dialogue, understanding, acceptance, and inclusiveness – let’s begin that today, and every day as we seek to be of help and support to those who need it.

(Featured headlining image:  Courtesy of OPM.gov.)

About Vilissa Thompson, LMSW

Vilissa is the Founder & CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, an organization she created to establish herself as a Disability Rights Consultant & Advocate. Ramp Your Voice! is a prime example of how macro-minded Vilissa truly is, and her determination to leave a giant "tire track mark" on the world.

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