By Kelly Davis, MHA Director of Peer Advocacy, Supports, and Services
The holiday season can be a time of joy, community, and connection, but many people experience an increased sense of loneliness and isolation during this time of year. Whether it is in a crowded room or at home by yourself, loneliness is painful.
While you might want to reach out to friends, family, and loved ones, sometimes it feels better to talk to someone with shared experiences or someone you don’t even know. Below are some free resources for extra support and connection this season and all year round:
Warmlines are phone numbers people can call when they need someone to talk to or to just be there, whether they are experiencing a crisis or not. Staffed by people with lived experience, callers can receive support when they need it without traveling, being enrolled in a specific program, or attending a support group. They can feel confident that the person on the other end of the line is a person with shared experience who understands the relationship-building, compassion, and hope that peers offer. Check out the link above to find the hours of operation of any warmlines near you.
Mental Health America (MHA) on Inspire
MHA’s Inspire communities provide a place for people with similar interests to support and encourage each other 24/7 online. Inspire is the largest provider of health-specific communities. MHA staff moderate the mental health focused online support groups and communities.
Reachout is a peer support app for those dealing with mental health and other chronic conditions that allows you to share with those who understand what you are going through and collectively manage your conditions better. It was created by The Modi Group, a wellness company that provides individuals with chronic illnesses self-help tools to manage their conditions and enhance their quality of life.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) Online Peer-to-Peer Anxiety and Depression Support Group
ADAA’s anonymous peer-to-peer online anxiety and depression support group is a friendly, safe and supportive place for individuals and their families to share information and experiences. As a member of ADAA's online community you can connect with other people experiencing anxiety and depression and related disorders, contribute to ongoing conversations or start your own conversation with a question or a post about your journey.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24/7 toll-free lifeline for individuals experiencing emotional distress or crises. Call 1-800-273-8255 to talk to a trained listener.
Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454
Lifeline ofrece 24/7, gratuito servicios en español, no es necesario hablar ingles si usted necesita ayuda.
Crisis Text Line: text MHA 741-741
Crisis Text Line provides free, confidential text message support for individuals experiencing emotional distress or crises. It is available 24/7. Text “MHA” to 741-741 for support.
Above are just a few of the resources available, but there may be many more in your community. In addition to taking care of yourself, it’s important to reach out to the people around you too. It is often surprising how many people around us are feeling the same way we are.