Help for Mental Illnesses
If you or someone you know has a mental illness, is struggling emotionally, or has concerns about their mental health, there are ways to get help. Use these resources to find help for you, a friend, or a family member.
Please note that the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)is a research funding agency. Resources on this page are provided for informational purposes only. The list is not comprehensive and does not constitute an endorsement by NIMH.
Get Immediate Help in a Crisis
Call 911 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger or go to the nearest emergency room.
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255); En Español 1-888-628-9454
The Lifeline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Lifeline connects callers to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals. People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have hearing loss can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889.
Text “HELLO” to 741741
The Crisis Text hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the U.S. The Crisis Text Line serves anyone, in any type of crisis, connecting them with a crisis counselor who can provide support and information.
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press 1 or text to 838255
The Veterans Crisis Line is a free, confidential resource that connects veterans 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a trained responder. The service is available to all veterans, even if they are not registered with the VA or enrolled in VA healthcare. People who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have hearing loss can call 1-800-799-4889.
Call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746
The disaster distress helpline provides immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. The helpline is free, multilingual, confidential, and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency.
View the NIMH 5 action steps for helping someone in emotional pain infographic to see how you can help those in distress.
Find a Health Care Provider or Treatment
Treatment for mental illnesses usually consists of therapy, medication, or a combination of the two. Treatment can be given in person or through a phone or computer (telehealth). It can sometimes be difficult to know where to start when looking for mental health care, but there are many ways to find a provider who will meet your needs.
Primary Care Provider: Your primary care practitioner can be an important resource, providing initial mental health screenings and referrals to mental health specialists. If you have an appointment with your primary care provider, consider bringing up your mental health concerns and asking for help.
Federal Resources: Some federal agencies offer resources for identifying health care providers and help in finding low-cost health services. These include:
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): For general information on mental health and to locate treatment services in your area, call the SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357). SAMHSA also has a Behavioral Health Treatment Locator on its website that can be searched by location.
- Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA): HRSA works to improve access to health care. The HRSA website has information on finding affordable healthcare, including health centers that offer care on a sliding fee scale.
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): CMS has information on its website about benefits and eligibility for mental health programs and how to enroll.
- The National Library of Medicine (NLM) MedlinePlus: NLM’s website has directories and lists of organizations that can help in identifying a health practitioner.
- Mental Health and Addiction Insurance Help: This website from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers resources to help answer questions about insurance coverage for mental health care.
National Agencies and Advocacy and Professional Organizations: Advocacy and professional organizations can be a good source of information when looking for a mental health provider. They often have information on finding a mental health professional on their website, and some have practitioner locators on their websites. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
- Mental Health America
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
State and County Agencies: The website of your state or county government may have information about health services in your area. You may be able to find this information by visiting their websites and searching for the health services department.
Insurance Companies: If you have health insurance, a representative of your insurance company will know which local providers are covered by your insurance plan. The websites of many health insurance companies have searchable databases that allow you to find a participating practitioner in your area.
University, College, or Medical Schools: Your local college, university, or medical school may offer treatment options. To find these, try searching on the website of local university health centers for their psychiatry, psychology, counseling, or social work departments.
Help for Service Members and Their Families: Current and former service members may face different mental health issues than the general public. For resources for both service members and veterans, please visit the MentalHealth.gov page Help for Service Members and Their Families page or the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs’ mental health page.
Deciding if a Provider is Right for You
Once you find a potential provider it can be helpful to prepare a list of questions to help you decide if they are a good fit for you. Examples of questions you might want to ask a potential provider include:
- What experience do you have treating someone with my issue?
- How do you usually treat someone with my issue?
- How long do you expect treatment to last?
- Do you accept my insurance?
- What are your fees?
For tips for talking with your healthcare provider, refer to the NIMH Taking Control of Your Mental Health: Tips for Talking with Your Health Care Provider fact sheet.
Treatment works best when you have a good relationship with your mental health provider. If you aren’t comfortable or are feeling like the treatment is not helping, talk with your provider, or consider finding a different provider or another type of treatment. If you are a child or adolescent, consider speaking with your doctor or another trusted adult. Do not stop current treatment without talking to your doctor.
US Dept. of Veterans Affairs
Hazelden Betty Ford
(Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) https://www.samhsa.gov
American Addiction Centers
Revelations of Freedom Ministries
US Dept. of Veterans Affairs Substance Use https://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/substance-abuse/index.asp
Hazelden Betty Ford https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org
National Alliance on Mental Health https://nami.org
American Psychological Association https://apa.org
American Board of Professional Psychology https://abpp.org
American Academy of Clinical Psychology https://www.aacpsy.org
American Psychiatric Association Https://www.psychiatry.org
National Institute on Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov
Mental Health Links The following links are listed to provide you with additional online mental health care information and counseling resources.
Associations & Institutes Child & Adolescent Psychiatry American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy American Counseling Association American Psychiatric Association American Psychological Association Association for Psychological Science Canadian Mental Health Association Center for Mental Health Resources National Institute of Mental Health Mental Health America Connection Between Mental Illness and Substance Abuse
Chronic Fatigue Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Dissociation and Traumatic Stress Sidran Traumatic Stress Institute
Journals & Magazines ADHD Report Anxiety, Stress and Coping Autism Childhood Contemporary Hypnosis Dementia Depression and Anxiety Drug and Alcohol Review Dyslexia Early Child Development and Care Eating Disorders Educational Assessment Journal of Gambling Studies Journal of Happiness Studies Journal of Mental Health and Aging Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment Language and Cognitive Processes Loss, Grief & Care Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Metaphor and Symbol Neuropsychological Rehabilitation Parenting at Home Personal Relationships Personality and Individual Differences Psychiatric Bulletin Psychology of Men & Masculinity Psychology Today Stress and Health Substance Abuse Trauma, Violence & Abuse