Mental health resources when you can’t find a therapist

How do you take care of your mental health when you can’t find a therapist? We reached out to 300 mental health providers to answer this question.

We learned that long waits for therapy are real, and many providers don’t even keep waiting lists because they don’t want to give patients false hope. “Our doors are getting smashed,” said Kayla Johnson, a licensed psychologist in Tomball, Texas. “I know the need is so great. I wish I could help them, but I don’t have the capacity.’

Shawn Dobson, a licensed professional counselor in Smyrna, Georgia, created a 12-step support group, TraumAnon, which she streams weekly on TikTok and Facebook.

Steve Schlozman, a child psychiatrist at Dartmouth Health Children’s in Lebanon, NH, said he contacted clergy, school counselors and even football coaches to act as de facto therapists for children and adolescents suffering from depression.

Since therapists are on the front lines of the mental health crisis, we asked them for their best advice on getting mental health help when you can’t find a therapist. Reporter Lindsey Bever has compiled all these tips into a handy guide. It turns out there are a number of resources—including mental health apps, group therapy, support groups, and even your friends—that can offer support while you wait to work with a therapist.

“The act of going to therapy is not therapy. Therapy is applying the skills—thinking through different ways of understanding yourself between sessions,” said Lakeisha Sullivan, a clinical psychologist in private practice in Atlanta who writes for The Washington Post. “The real work is done between sessions, and people can engage in that real work before consulting a professional.”

Learn more by reading the full article, 10 Ways to Get Mental Health Help During a Therapist Shortage.

In the meantime, we’ve compiled our own list of additional stories to help answer your mental health questions. You can find all of our reporting on mental health issues in The Washington Post’s “mind” section.

How to tell if it’s depression or just “normal” sadness

Perfectionists: Lowering your standards can improve your mental health

4 Emotional Workouts to Help You Feel Empowered and Promote Resilience

There were 880 patients on the psychiatry waiting list; a hospital couldn’t handle it

A guide to surviving election stress

Election day is coming. The results may have some people celebrating and others devastated. Whichever side you’re on, elections — especially political disagreements between friends and family — can be stressful.

We have a tip. For starters, it’s helpful to understand why so many of us are vulnerable to political misinformation. “Our psychological biases and predispositions make us vulnerable to lies,” reports Richard Sima in the latest Brain Matters column. “As a result, misinformation is more likely to be believed, remembered, and later recalled—even after we learn it is false.”

And remember, don’t let the outcome of the election — or discussions of misinformation — ruin your Thanksgiving holiday. Experts say the holiday table is not the place for these conversations.

Instead, ask someone out for coffee and make it a one-on-one conversation. Avoid confrontations.

Why do our brains believe lies?

9 tips for debunking false claims made by friends and family

8 ways to feel less anxious about things out of your control

How to get rid of election anxiety, according to mental health experts

My social media highlight of the week it was this video of a horseshoe crab helping another who is converted. It’s a little stressful to watch, but spoiler alert, it all works out in the end.

We’ve had a busy week at The Post. Here’s a summary:

Why daylight saving time is worse for your body than standard time

Benzene-contaminated aerosol hair products may still be on store shelves

How to survive in crowds and why they can become deadly

Three ways to fix sleep problems when nothing else works

Ask a doctor: Is animal protein easier to digest than plant protein?

Your doctor may have given up on you if you haven’t been seen in a few years

How to support your sober friends when everyone is drinking

Please let us know how we get on. Email us at [email protected]

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