Online therapy is becoming increasingly popular as an affordable alternative to treatment – providing options that range from online chats with actual therapists and/or “bots”, to free downloadable tools and worksheets and mental health apps. Additionally, peer-led, online support and discussion groups offer an accessible option to those for whom interaction through digital media is a preferred alternative to in-person support groups.
Online counseling provides convenience and accessibility that in-person therapy may not be able to provide. Similar to seeking an in-person therapist, it can take some trial-and-error to find the right treatment team. We have outlined a number of options below for your consideration. Please know that NAMI does not endorse any particular resource provided below.
• Centre for Interactive Mental Health Solutions (CIMHS) offers an initial, free eight-session interactive therapy program for those living with depression.
• 7 Cups of Tea provides free emotional support through trained peer-listeners and chat groups. Online professional therapists are also available at cost.
• BetterHelp and TalkSpace offers individual, family, and child virtual therapy at a low cost. Therapists can be accessed via texting, email, phone, or video chat.
• Breakthrough and Amwell both have the ability to identify a virtual therapist within your insurance network.
• PsychCentral's "Ask the Therapist" page allows users to pose a mental health-related question to a public virtual therapist page for response.
Online support groups
• Mental Health America maintains a free, online mental health group and discussion community. Discussion topics include mental health concerns, support for family and friends, and coping with mental health stigma.
• Support Group Central offers virtual support groups on various mental health topics. Groups are typically run by mental health professionals from non-profit agencies. Group dates/times vary depending on the topics. Support groups are free or low-cost.
• Smart Recovery provides free, peer-led support and chat groups. Conversations are moderated to prevent discrimination or aggression.
• Open to Hope offers an online support forum where individuals share their stories and connect to others coping with grief and loss.
• Ivory Garden is an organization that provides online support groups where those who have experienced trauma can talk openly to help each other understand the ins and outs of living with DID, and act as ears for those who need to talk about what is going on in each other’s daily lives.
• Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) provides online, peer-led support groups for people living with depression and bipolar disorder. DBSA support groups serve peers, young adults, and friends and family members.
• Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) offers an anonymous peer-to-peer online anxiety and depression support group for individuals and their families to share information and experiences.
• Schizophrenia & Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) offers conference call groups for individuals and family & friends.
Mental health apps
• PsyberGuide is a mental health application that reviews mental-health apps and digital tools. Each tool is given scores for credibility, user experience and how transparent the app is about data storage.
• Tess and Woebot are a Mental Health Chatbots that provides emotional support similar to a peer or counselor. Both apps observe behavior with unlimited conversation options.