Alternatives to Traditional Mental Health Services

Treatments are crucial to those who are impacted by mental health, but not everyone has equal access to mental healthcare professionals. Whether they are too far away or the traveling expenses are too much, there are alternative ways to seek help.

According to Hannah Nichols of Medical News Today, about 48.3 million adults face mental health conditions in America. However, 9.8 million of those are plagued with serious enough conditions that they affect everyday life.

Websites like PsyCom can be one of those alternatives. These websites offer mental health tests and self-assessment quizzes. These sites usually offer their services for free. Their main purpose is to connect with the individuals who are concerned for their mental health.

There are a plethora of websites that can provide medically-reviewed and accurate articles and quizzes for specific mental illnesses. PsyCom has screenings available for bipolar disorder, depression, OCD, anxiety disorder, eating disorders, addictions like sex or gambling, and many more.

Apps can also be available for those who want a compact and portable mental health aid when on the go. Moodpath, Calm, and Headspace are free apps that function as a pocket-sized mental health companion, a support system for difficult times. Others can help with sleep and anxiety, while some allow you to write down what you’re feeling that day and assess your overall mental composition.

Another method to improving mental health conditions is eating a healthly diet and exercising. While more severe cases of mental illness, like schizophrenia, need a professional diagnosis and treatment, other mental health conditions can be improved through staying healthy.

Exercising releases endorphins in the brain, which makes us happy. If you are battling depression, anxiety, or stress, taking the time to work out and eat something healthy can significantly boost your mood, according to Nichols.

Creating a support group online or in person can also have a significant impact on mental health. Talking to people who have similar issues can show that you’re not alone, and you can get advice on how to live with the conditions.

Finding a passion or hobby that you can do on your down time can also have a positive impact on your mental health. You can simultaneously keep your mind focused on the project rather than negative thoughts and create something you’re passionate about in the process.

Although the treatment and diagnosis of a serious mental illness should be done by a medical professional, other mental conditions can be easier to treat when they don’t affect everyday activities. Getting a more solid hold on your mental illness can make all the difference. Understanding that there are alternative ways to improve mental conditions and that you are not alone will make living life easier and healthier.

Hotline Numbers:

National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-NAMI
Panic Disorder Information Hotline: 800- 64-PANIC
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK
Suicide & Crisis Hotline: 1-800-999-9999
Help Finding a Therapist: 1-800-THERAPIST
Eating Disorders Center: 1-888-236-1188
Adolescent Suicide Hotline: 800-621-4000

1 in 5 adults experience mental illness in the U.S. in a given year.

50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24.

The average delay between onset of symptoms and intervention is 8-10 years.

Written by: Alex Dunn

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