Seeking help is often the first step towards getting and staying well, but it can be hard to know how to start or where to turn to. It's common to feel unsure, and to wonder whether you should try to handle things on your own. But it's always ok to ask for help – even if you're not sure you are experiencing a specific mental health problem.
You might want to seek help if you're:
For many of us, our local GP practice is the first place we go when we're unwell (known as primary care). Your doctor is there to help you with your mental health as well as your physical health.
Trained therapists and counsellors provide a range of different therapies through the NHS, for which your doctor could refer you (known as secondary care). In some cases you might be able to contact them directly.
There are many national and local charities which offer various support services, such as:
In most areas, you should have access to a crisis resolution and home treatment team (CRHT). These teams can support you through a crisis at home.
If you do not have access to a local crisis service, you could:
Hospital inpatient services support people with severe mental health problems, or people who are experiencing a crisis. Most hospital admissions are voluntary, but if you are assessed and judged to be at risk of harming yourself or others, you can be detained under a section of the Mental Health Act 1983 (in England and Wales). This is often called being sectioned. How long you stay in hospital will depend on your personal situation.
Being treated in hospital can mean you have faster access to treatment, round-the-clock support and are kept safe during a crisis. Some people find hospital a positive experience, while others find it unpleasant as you might be far away from your support network, in an unfamiliar place or admitted against your will.
If you are treated in hospital, it's important to know your rights. Find out more about this on Mind Mental Health Charity's legal pages.
For more options on mental health help visit the support page of Time To Change Charity.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call 911, go to the nearest emergency room, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to reach a 24-hour crisis center, or text MHA to 741741 at the Crisis Text Line.
You can also call 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 at the SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline. Trained crisis workers will listen to you and direct you to the resources you need.
One of our 200 MHA affiliates across the country can provide you with additional guidance and connect you to local resources. Find the affiliate closest to you here:
Find more information about finding therapy, support groups, and inpatient care as well as types of mental health treatments here.
HRSA Health Centers care for you, even if you have no health insurance – you pay what you can afford based on your income. Health centers provide mental health, substance abuse, oral health, and/or vision services. Contact the health center organization directly to confirm the availability of specific services and to make an appointment. Search for a health center closest to you here.
You can also locate treatment facilities in your area by using the SAMHSA Treatment locator available at https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/locator or by calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
Some federal agencies offer resources for identifying practitioners and assistance in finding low cost health services. These include:
If you are in distress or are worried about someone in distress who may hurt themselves, call 1-800-SUICIDE 24 hours a day to connect to a BC crisis line, without a wait or busy signal. That’s 1-800-784-2433.
Alcohol & Drug Information and Referral Service
If you’re concerned about your alcohol or drug use or concerned about some else’s use, call the Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Service at 1-800-663-1441 (toll-free in BC) or 604-660-9382 (in Greater Vancouver). This service is available seven days a week, 24 hours a day.
Call 811 or visit www.healthlinkbc.ca to access free, non-emergency health information for anyone in your family, including mental health information. Through 811, you can also speak to a registered nurse about symptoms you’re worried about, or talk with a pharmacist about medication questions.
Crisis lines aren’t only for people in crisis. You can call for information on local services or if you just need someone to talk to. If you are in distress, call 310-6789 (do not add 604, 778 or 250 before the number) 24 hours a day to connect to a BC crisis line, without a wait or busy signal. The crisis lines linked in through 310-6789 have received advanced training in mental health issues and services by members of the BC Partners for Mental Health and Addictions Information.
Suicide Call Back Service is a national 24/7 telehealth provider that offers free professional phone and online counselling for people living in Australia. You do not require a medical referral to initiate contact. This means you can access free professional counselling anywhere, at a time that is convenient to you. Phone and online counselling is seen by many to be a helpful alternative to traditional face-to-face counselling because of its less confronting approach. Their professionally trained counsellors have specialist skills in working with suicide-related issues and they can help you to work through the pain and distress you may be feeling.
While you should always call 000 if it’s an emergency, we can help anyone who is affected by suicide, which includes:
Call and talk with a professional counsellor now on 1300 659 467 anywhere, anytime.
Access Suicide Call Back Service online counselling and chat with a counsellor anywhere, anytime.
Please note this service is only available to people living in Australia aged 15 years and older. Unfortunately, we cannot provide assistance to people outside Australia and we recommend you contact your nearest support service.
Blue Knot Foundation Helpline (formerly ASCA Professional Support Line) provides help, information, support or referral for adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse, their partners, family and friends, health professionals and anyone in the workplace working with people who have experienced childhood trauma and abuse. Call 1300 657 380, 9am-5pm AEST / 7 days a week.
Butterfly Foundation's National Helpline, ED HOPE, is a free, confidential service that provides information, counselling and treatment referral for people with eating disorders, and body image and related issues. Call 1800 33 4673, 8am – midnight AEST / 7 days a week.
eheadspace provides mental health and wellbeing support, information and services to young people aged 12 to 25 years and their families. Call 1800 650 890.
Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free 24/7 confidential and private counseling service specifically for children and young people aged 5 to 25. Call 1800 55 1800.
Lifeline provides 24-hour crisis counseling, support groups and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14.
If you’re seriously concerned about someone’s immediate safety:
Need to talk? (1737 – free call or text)
The Depression Helpline (0800 111 757)
Healthline (0800 611 116)
Lifeline (0800 543 354)
Samaritans (0800 726 666)
Youthline (0800 376 633)
Alcohol Drug Helpline (0800 787 797)