18 Essential Mental Health Resources You Need to Know About
I get heartbreaking messages every week. Parents email me because they desperately want to help their adult child who has a mental illness but refuses help. A teacher is struggling with bipolar disorder, but doesn’t know where to turn. A manager sees one of his employees grappling with anxiety and depression and wants to know how to best handle the situation.
This is all excellent. I don’t mean it’s good people are struggling. But it’s good people are reaching out for help more. The shame and stigma of mental illness is still present for sure, but it is diminishing.
I’m not a therapist or doctor, but I am an expert by experience. Over the course of the past 20-odd years (and trust me, some years were really odd), I’ve learned to manage the symptoms of bipolar disorder, anxiety, psychosis and have recovered from disordered eating.
Over time, I’ve gathered a list of trusted resources. They have been a crucial part of my wellness journey. It’s important to me you have the same tools to lean on and have some next steps to follow to help you on your way.
There are thousands of mental health websites and resources available. These are the ones I use and rely on most. Some are region-specific, many are not. Not all will be applicable to your particular situation. Some are for loved ones searching for effective ways to support their family members. Others are for individuals living with a mental health condition who want to find guidance to build a better life. I encourage you to explore and then reach out to the organizations or people listed below that fit your needs. In addition, you may want to read my post about learning concrete strategies to navigate the monstrosity that is our broken mental health system.
1. Recommended mental health websites, organizations and support groups.
These websites and affiliated local support groups are rich in resources and experience. Try more than one support group. The first one you try may not be the right fit for you. I can tell you from personal experience, support groups give me much-needed hope, motivation and information. Having a chance to talk and listen with people who have been where you have can be incredibly helpful.
- Canadian Mental Health Association (branches located all across Canada)
- Mental Health America (branches located all across the US, parts of Canada)
- Mood Disorders Society of Canada
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (branches located across the US, parts of Canada)
- Anxiety BC
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- Schizophrenia Society of Canada (branches across Canada; some services are applicable for all mental illnesses)
2. Finding good health professionals in your area.
Find a support group and attend a meeting. While there, don’t be shy about asking for referrals to good counselors. Word of mouth is often the best testament of a health professional. Or, call one of the above organizations and ask who, what clinic or what steps they would recommend in order to find the appropriate clinician. Mental Health America has a very good page with lots of tips and links about finding a health provider
3. Chat rooms and online communities.
If you’re not comfortable or unable to attend a support group, many of the above websites have chatrooms and online communities where you can get great suggestions.
4. Dr. Lloyd Sederer’s TEDdx talk
This TEDx talk, “When mental illness enters the family,” offers excellent tips for parents, loved ones and others who are supporting someone who is struggling with mental health issues, but isn’t able to see they need help. The best information starts at 7:50. In addition to his talk, he has a widely praised book, “The Family Guide to Mental Health Care: Advice on Helping Your Loved Ones.”
5. Dr. Xavier Amador’s book
His book, “I Don’t Need Help, I’m Not Sick” is phenomenal. He created the LEAP program which gives family members tools to help someone who is in denial of mental illness accept treatment, but is also designed to help the general public resolve conflict and communicate effectively. Check Dr. Amador’s referral page for clinicians who work with his method.
6. Julie Fast’s coaching service and book
Her coaching service and her book, “Loving Someone with Bipolar Disorder,” are great tools. Julie is a woman who has bipolar disorder herself and is an expert in helping families and partners of those with bipolar disorder. Her books are extremely popular and well-respected.
7. Bipolar Caregivers Website
Although specifically for those who have a loved one with bipolar disorder, the strategies and tips offered are very helpful for anyone supporting a person with mental illness.
8. My blog post
This post offers concrete suggestions, resources and links to two other posts about helping your adult child.
This is a way you can speak to someone online for support. Free, anonymous and confidential.
Click the “Find Help” icon on their menu bar and look at the dropdown box. They have links to pages with excellent strategies and tools if you’re looking for help for yourself or for someone else.
This is an excellent website with information that can apply to conditions beyond bipolar disorder. Their archived video section is particularly good. They also have a great page of resources for those who have a loved one with bipolar disorder.
Full disclosure: I’m part of the research team that helped create this. This website has great evidence-based resources and tools for those living with bipolar disorder. This free tool that assesses quality of life is especially helpful and can be used as a discussion piece with health care providers. It can also help guide next steps in treatment and wellness plans.
These are effective programs that teach people how to respond when someone is in a mental health crisis or developing a mental health condition. Courses are available across the country both in the USA and Australia.
14. Not Myself Today
This is a well-respected, fee-based program for employers to help create mentally healthy workplaces. It is an evidence-informed, practical solution-focused program on building understand, reducing stigma and fostering supportive work cultures.
This is a free download about how to support staff who are experiencing a mental health problem.
Both the website and magazine are great. There are excellent articles and an online community that provides practical tips, tools and hope. Though focused on bipolar disorder, check it out as some information can apply to others’ conditions, too.
17. Mental Health Commission of Canada
This commission develops and disseminates Canadian mental health programs and resources. Their webinars may be of particular interest as they range from recovery topics to workplace issues. Even if you are based in a country other than Canada, much of the information will still be applicable
18. If there’s a crisis:
Please remember your first step is to call 911 or visit your nearest emergency department. Or, contact your local crisis center. You can find a list of numbers here.
I hope these resources offer you some guidance and hope on this journey. If you know of another excellent resource, please email me and let me know.
You can find a PDF of this list here.
Follow my journey on Victoria Maxwell
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