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5 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health Online

Comparison, aspirations, and negativity are rife among both teens and adults when spending time on social media.

Of course, many of the mental health issues in society stem from beyond the cyber world too, particularly from the loneliness that was induced by the pandemic, but it’s the online world that can also be our savior too.

Here are five ways to find help online for our mental health:

#1 Coaching

There are many ways that we can seek help and guidance from professionals, and coaching is one of them. One common cause behind many of our issues surrounding mental health can come from a lack of satisfaction and purpose that we receive from our career, and the value and status we feel we offer in society.

Mental health life coaching can be a highly interactive and impactful way to seek help online. Professionals that have received award-winning training offer life coaching, in which they exercise their knowledge and expertise into your own situation, feelings, and ambitions.

Whilst therapy is always going to be advisable for mental health challenges, there are scenarios in which coaching is also recommended. For example, if you have only mild emotional health challenges but want short-term personal growth then coaching may be a great option. It’s highly actionable and heavily involves goals, values, and purpose.

#2 Online therapy sites 

Online therapy websites are perhaps the most highly recommended route for people with mental health challenges. Anxiety and depression, among many other issues, are common causes of seeking help with online therapist websites.

Online therapy has highly educated and licensed therapists, which are as good as they come, and are the only valid options for severe mental health concerns. However, that isn’t to say they can’t be tremendously helpful for milder mental health issues – everyone can benefit from speaking with licensed therapists.

Talkspace and Betterhelp are two of the biggest platforms when it comes to providing affordable online therapy. There are thousands of therapists on both sites, an easy-to-use app, and both have the choice of speaking over the phone, live call or text messaging. This means that the vehicle of communication is flexible to suit the needs of everyone, yet as proven in various studies, are all equally effective forms of therapy. 

#3 Counseling sites 

Counseling sites are growing in popularity too. The confusion between counseling and therapy is common, with many people disregarding the latter as being less effective. The truth is that both are used for different reasons, but it is true that therapy sites can only use licensed psychologists whilst counseling sites do not.

Instead of exercising therapy techniques such as CBT and PDP, counseling is more centered around building up a core set of skills as an individual: being a good person, reducing how judgemental we are, listening to others better, reflecting how we feel and how to express ourselves, and making sure we act accordingly in our day to day lives. The best type of online counseling is any form of professional counseling.

This can help deal with difficult circumstances and obstacles in life without full-on therapy. Whilst there should be no stigma around getting therapy, counseling has its place too. Plus, counseling can be seen as a form of talking therapy regardless and can have profound results.

#4 Group therapy

Group therapy, whilst having been around for many years, has become increasingly accessible online. Group therapy is where there is a mental health professional leading a group of individuals that are looking to discuss, share, and help each other overcome problems. Of course, the pandemic made group therapy more difficult due to restrictions, which is in part why it has become so popular online.

Group therapy can be for conditions such as depression, eating disorders, substance use disorder, chronic illness, anxiety, and self-harm. It’s important to note the distinction with support groups, as group therapy is led by a professional. Group therapy has some advantages, as it serves as a sound board, promotes social skills, costs less than individual therapy, and provides a comradery of support that is difficult to achieve anywhere else. Listening to others with the same issues can make us feel as though we’re no longer alone in our issues, and can provide a sense of relief.

Whilst in-person group therapy can be perhaps better for improving our social skills, online group therapy is an easy first step. It takes less confidence to turn on a zoom meeting, which in theory, you could easily hang up if it got all too much. This kind of accessible first step has enticed more people into group therapy than perhaps traditional therapy, which is a trend that will hopefully continue.

#5 Free apps and health lines

Finally, there are free apps and health lines that can be found. Some apps have a freemium approach, in which you can speak a limited number of messages per week or month for free. Just make sure that any therapy app that is being used has licensed professionals.

There are many apps that can help that aren’t providing therapy. For example, ‘notOK’ app is free and lets users select up to 5 contacts with a message saying “Hey, I’m not OK! Please call, text, or come find me” along with their live GPS location will be sent out at the hit of a button. Or, there is ‘What’s Up’, a free app that uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy methods to help you cope with anxiety, depression, and so on. You’re not speaking to anyone, but there are a lot of step-by-step resources and useful information.

Habit trackers, meditation apps, and mood journals are all apps that can be both free and vitally important to our mental health. 

There are health lines too if you can’t find help online. In the UK, the NHS has free local urgent mental health helplines, along with Samaritans (24/7/365) on the number 116 123, SANEline, National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK, The Mix, Campaign Against Living Miserably, and many others. Different variations of the same helplines exist in all developed nations, so it’s important to phone them in desperate circumstances.

Image credit – @Getty

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