Mental Health Resources Guide

Edited and medically reviewed by Patrick Alban, DC | Written by Deane Alban

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Get access to information about mental health practitioners and treatments, online therapy and support groups, resources for teens & young adults, and more.

Worldwide, about one in four people experience a mental illness in their lifetime, but most never seek professional help. (1)

The primary reasons are lack of time or money, fear of stigma or discrimination, and limited access to mental health care.

But today, there are more resources than ever for treating mental health issues.

Use this mental health resources guide to get the professional care and support you need.

COVID-19 Resources

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s critical to be sensitive to your state of mental health, get accurate information from reliable sources, and avoid obsessing about coronavirus and COVID-19 news.

Here are some resources to help you:

Currently, many mental health practitioners are overwhelmed with patients.

Consider online counseling if you can’t find professional help in your area.

Directories of Mental Health Practitioners

If you are looking for a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist, or want to expand your understanding of how these practitioners can help you, these organizations can help.

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is the US national organization for psychiatrists.

Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders.

They utilize both prescription medications and psychotherapy.

Some APA psychiatrists practice integrative psychiatry which supports the use of non-medication treatments, including nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, acupuncture, neurofeedback, and mind-body practices.

How to Find a Practitioner
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American Psychology Association

The American Psychology Association (APA) is the leading organization of psychologists in the United States.

Most commonly, psychologists use psychotherapy (aka counseling or “talk therapy”) to help you recognize and change thought and behavior patterns that negatively impact your life.

How to Find a Practitioner
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Good Therapy

Good Therapy is an association of mental health professionals in more than 30 countries.

They provide one of the top therapist directories on the internet.

You can find lists of psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists on their website or, if you prefer to speak to someone about finding a therapist, you can call 1-888-563-2112.

How to Find a Practitioner
Learn More

* This is an extensive list of over 150 different kinds of therapy with detailed information about each of them.

Psychology Today

PsychologyToday.com is the most popular psychology website.

Its magazine has been in print since 1967.

You can find a psychologist, therapist, counselor, treatment center, or support group with Psychology Today’s handy interactive search function.

It lets you sort and filter by mental health issues, treatment options, language, insurance coverage, and more.

How to Find a Practitioner

Suicide Hotlines

If you or someone you know needs help NOW, do not delay.

In the US: Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Hotline.

Outside the US: See this list of International Suicide Hotlines.

Complementary and Alternative Mental Health Resources

If you are looking for more natural or personalized treatment, take a look at this next group of mental health resources.

Complementary and alternative medicine, also known as CAM, uses treatments that are beyond the scope of mainstream medicine.

Millions of people are turning to CAM for mental health care because conventional treatments are not working for them.

Antidepressants work for only 30% of those who try them and cognitive behavioral therapy is of limited use for depression. (23)

Anti-anxiety drugs like Xanax and Ativan have serious side effects, including being some of the most addictive substances known. (4)

Many psychiatric medications are not safe for seniors, children, and pregnant women or people taking other medications.

CAM treatments generally fall into one of two categories — supplements (such as vitamins and herbs) or mind and body practices (such as meditation or acupuncture).

While the terms alternative, complementary, and integrative medicine are used interchangeably, there are some differences among them.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, part of the US National Institutes of Health, describes them as follows: (5)

  • Alternative medicine treatments are used instead of standard, or conventional, medical treatments.
  • Complementary medicine treatments are used along with conventional medical treatment.
  • Integrative medicine brings both conventional and complementary approaches together in a systematic, coordinated way.

Some CAM practitioners rely on time-honored traditions such as Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine.

Others employ cutting-edge science such as screening for toxins, lead, mold, pathogens, food allergies, nutritional deficiencies, or neurotransmitter imbalances.

CAM practices are often the last resort for patients with treatment-resistant “mystery” diseases, such as Lyme disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, and thyroid disorders.

Turning away from conventional medicine and towards CAM is not as revolutionary as you might think.

According to the World Health Organization, 80% of the world’s population relies on herbal remedies as part of their primary health care. (6)

It may surprise you to know that some of the most prestigious hospitals in the country offer CAM treatments.

For example, the Cleveland Clinic, which consistently ranks as one of the top hospitals in the US, has an active Center for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine with Behavioral Health Therapy and Brain Health and Wellness programs. (7)

Here are some of the CAM disciplines that are the most relevant for treating mental health issues.

Advanced Nutrient Therapy

Advanced nutrient therapy uses vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to naturally correct imbalances in neurotransmitter activity.

Dr. William Walsh, a pioneer in the development of advanced nutrient therapies to normalize brain chemistry, coined the phrase “advanced nutrient therapy.”

He also founded the Walsh Research Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to studying the biochemistry of mental disorders.

Walsh’s protocol has been used to treat various mental health conditions, including ADHD, autism, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease.

How to Find a Practitioner

If you are comfortable communicating with a physician via video chat, you’ll find a list of additional practitioners in the “Telemedicine” category.

Learn More

Environmental Medicine

Environmental medicine focuses on the interactions between the patient and the environment.

It is based on the “total load” concept, the idea that exposure to too many irritants, such as environmental toxins, bacteria, allergens, and viruses, can cause hypersensitivity and a breakdown of physical and mental health.

Practitioners seek to restore health by lowering the total load of a patient and addressing any nutritional deficiencies.

Environmental medicine is more of a mainstream practice than other disciplines in this guide.

There are environmental health programs at prestigious medical schools such as Johns Hopkins, Yale, and Harvard.

How to Find a Practitioner
Learn More

Functional Medicine

Functional medicine focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease.

It addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms, and examines genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.

Functional medicine has been described as being both personalized and systematic.

It attempts to “connect the dots” between all the things wrong with your health.

How to Find a Practitioner

Here you’ll find the largest referral network for functional medicine practitioners.

This is a collaboration between Cleveland Clinic, one of the top-rated hospitals in the country, and the Institute for Functional Medicine.

This clinic in Lenox, Massachusetts was founded by Mark Hyman, MD, a leader in the field of functional medicine.

Dr. Hyman is also the founder of the Institute for Functional Medicine and the Director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine.

Amen Clinics is the world leader in applying brain imaging science to help people who struggle with brain and mental health disorders.

There are currently eight clinics throughout the US.

They were founded by Dr. Daniel Amen, double board-certified psychiatrist, and ten-time New York Times bestselling author.

Learn More

Integrative Mental Health

Integrative mental health lies at the intersection of alternative health care and psychiatry.

It combines the use of natural healing alternatives and conventional treatments.

Some of the things an integrative mental health clinician is concerned with include nutritional deficiencies, food allergies, toxicities, and genetic disorders.

Treatments include nutritional therapies and dietary adjustments, along with medications and psychotherapy, if needed.

How to Find a Practitioner
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Naturopathic Medicine

Naturopathy is another branch of the health sciences that uses both alternative and conventional medical treatments, with the emphasis on natural remedies that support the body’s own healing process.

How to Find a Practitioner

Not all naturopathic physicians work with mental health issues, but you can find one that does here:

Learn More

Nutritional Psychology & Psychiatry

Unlike their traditional peers, nutritional psychologists and psychiatrists recognize the profound impact that food and nutrition have on mental health.

The main difference between a nutritional psychologist and a nutritional psychiatrist is that a psychiatrist can prescribe medications. (8)

How to Find a Practitioner
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Orthomolecular Medicine and Psychiatry

Orthomolecular medicine is a form of alternative medicine that seeks to maintain health through supplementation, with particular emphasis on substances already found in the body, such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

Two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling coined the word “orthomolecular” to describe the use of naturally occurring substances, particularly nutrients, to maintain health and treat disease. (9)

Ortho is derived from Greek meaning correct, upright, or straight.

Orthomolecular psychiatry is the use of orthomolecular medicine specifically for mental health issues.

How to Find a Practitioner
Learn More

Online Therapy Resources

A relatively new way to access professional mental health therapy is online counseling — therapy conducted via messaging, email, chat, phone, and video.

Numerous studies have confirmed that online therapy is as effective as face-to-face counseling for many mental health conditions. (101112)

Compared to traditional therapy, online therapy is more affordable and convenient, while being discreet, private, and secure.

BetterHelp

BetterHelp is the world’s largest online counseling service with over 7,000 licensed therapists.

With BetterHelp, you get the same professionalism and quality you would expect from a traditional (in-office) counselor, but you get to choose how and when you wish to communicate.

You start by filling out a short questionnaire to enable BetterHelp’s algorithm to match you with a suitable therapist.

You can communicate with your counselor via email, text, video chat, or phone session.

There is a low, flat monthly fee for unlimited sessions.

Other Online Therapy Services

Mental Health Support Groups

Knowing that you are not alone in your struggles can be a huge relief.

A mental health support group can provide a safe place where you can meet with others to share experiences and ideas, and provide emotional support for one another.

Some support groups are led by a professional therapist, while others have a trained leader to act as a moderator.

Mental Health America

Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness.

You’ll find dozens of specialized mental health support groups in their support group resources directory.

National Alliance on Mental Illness

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the United States’ largest grassroots mental health organization.

NAMI offers information on support groups and services specifically for diverse populations such as teens, veterans, caregivers, minorities, and the LGBTQ community.

NAMI also operates a free hotline to answer questions about mental health issues.

It provides referrals and support at 1-800-950-NAMI or by email at info@nami.org.

Suicide Hotlines

If you or someone you know needs help NOW, do not delay.

In the US: Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Hotline.

Outside the US: See this list of International Suicide Hotlines.

Mental Health Resources for Teens and Young Adults

Unfortunately, teens and young adults are at high risk for mental health disorders.

Here are two prominent organizations that can help.

Half of Us

Half of Us is a mental health resource for college students.

It gets its name from the fact that half of all college students report being so stressed that they have felt unable to function some time during the past year.

Half of Us offers mental health resources for college students, including how to get mental health help on campus at colleges and universities across the US.

JED’s Mental Health Resource Center

JED’s Mental Health Resource Center is a nonprofit organization created to help teens, college students, and young adults cope with common mental and emotional health issues, with a special emphasis on suicide prevention.

If you or someone you know needs help now, follow the instructions on their Get Help Now page.

Medication and Supplement Interaction Checkers

Some of the most common questions we get at Be Brain Fit concern the interactions of drugs, over-the-counter (OTC) remedies, and supplements.

Typical examples are: “Can I take 5-HTP with Prozac?” or “Is it safe to take St. John’s wort and Tylenol?”.

(The answer to both of these questions is “no!”)

If you are taking any prescription medications, we advise you to talk to your doctor or your pharmacist about interactions.

But, in the meantime, you can educate yourself with one of these free online interaction checkers:

You can use these databases to check potential interactions between medications, OTC remedies, and supplements in any combination.

If you discover you are at risk for any interactions, call your doctor or pharmacist immediately and ask what you should do.

And never stop taking any medication without talking to your health care provider first!