When faced with overwhelming stress and mental health issues, you may be more comfortable looking online for support. Sometimes your loved ones may be the source of the stress (for example, if you are the primary caregiver of someone with a terminal illness), or you may be uncomfortable talking with family or friends about a mental health issue. Online support groups can offer community and caring that is anonymous and available 24/7.
Mental Health America has a wealth of resources on their website, including a link for local support groups, online options, and even a crisis hotline if you need to speak with someone immediately. Scroll down and you will find 100+ links for specific issues that include stress, grief, issues for primary caregivers, and much more.
Another great resource to find online help is Daily Strength. Their alphabetized list has support for everything from abstinence and celibacy to Zellweger Syndrome and everything in between! If you are looking for an online therapist, they have references for that as well.
Sometimes it can be helpful to read the experiences of others and develop community that way.
Blogs have revolutionized how we share our human experience, and there are many excellent blogs on mental health issues and stress. Reading blogs, commenting on them, and even starting your own can be a great way to manage stress or process depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.
Another online resource is message boards. These boards can act as a way to compare experiences, ask for resources, and just get suggestions on dealing with an issue. There are many boards online. Try to find a board with lots of members who are very active, and follow the same rules of any online support group: if you feel you are being harassed or taken advantage of, report the offender to the moderator and leave if the issue is not resolved.
However you choose to get support online, always stay safe in your interactions.
Do not give out personal information that could direct someone to your house or your family, and follow your instincts when it comes to your interactions. There are some people who would take advantage of the vulnerable state of people in online support situations. The key is a good moderator who is proactive and protective. Following a few safety guidelines will make your experience more positive and allow you to get the support you need!
Tell us: Have you turned to an online community for support? Which one?
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