For most of us, 2020 has been the most challenging year we have ever experienced, and our moods are at all-time lows.
Everybody feels down, sad, frustrated, stressed or anxious at times, but it’s important to be able to recognise when a mood or behavioural change has become more than a temporary thing. If you think you might benefit from some help, there are several ways you can reach out, even without leaving your home.
If you are time poor; or feel anxious about speaking to someone either over the phone or in person; you can access help from your computer or smart phone. Here’s five ways that you can get help with a variety of issues, and all in a safe and non-threatening manner.
Talk with a therapist via SMS or web chat
Many of us feel more secure in texting, and you can access free web chat or text messaging services that allow you to talk with a therapist via messaging. Lifeline and Beyond Blue have SMS service available every evening before midnight, which give you access to short term support.
Online clinics or programs
Online clinics such as Mindspot provide a range of self-guided mental health treatment programs that you work your way through at your own pace. These programs are ideal for those who are looking for information about common mental health symptoms and basic strategies to manage these symptoms.
Peer support forums
Online peer support forums provide a safe space where you can anonymously share your personal experiences and questions, and get support from others. You will find others who have had similar experiences, and you can benefit from their advice. These forums are usually moderated by professionals or trained volunteers. Some online support groups include SANE, Beyond Blue and headspace.
Many well-known organisations offer smartphone apps which are designed to help you feel better right away. Research has shown that meditation and mindfulness are important to develop awareness and reduce the impact of negative thoughts and feelings. These apps will guide you through a process to help with relaxation and meditation – which might be just the thing you need at that moment.
A chat bot is a program designed to simulate conversation with you using artificial intelligence; meaning you type in your thoughts, feelings and questions and an AI bot will respond to you. If you just need to talk, a chat bot is there to “listen”, and this may help change your way of thinking. Some popular chat bots are Woebot and Wysa.
With all the available technologies, it’s nice to know you are not alone. All of the above are there to help, but should not take the place of a consultation with a medical professional. If you do find the digital platforms do not work for you, please reach out and speak to a professional.