6 ways to get mental health help without seeing a therapist

Recently, mental health is starting to get all the attention it deserves. Although there is better access to mental health professionals and hospitalization, most of us have not seen a therapist.

Regardless of barriers, everyone’s mental health is important, and we strive to take care of it. Alternative therapeutic modalities are gradually gaining popularity due to their cost-free advantage. However, these are usually useful for people without a clinical diagnosis.

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Ways to Get Mental Health Help Without Going to a Therapist

Every once in a while we should do a little sanity check. However, what if you want an alternative to standard talk therapy or if your financial situation prevents you from meeting with a mental health professional?

The good news is that you have a lot of great choices. Here are six ways to help you start your journey to better mental health:

1) Mindfulness and Meditation

The term mindfulness has become very popular, and for good reason. You can manage symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues using this type of meditation.

The practice of meditation aims to help you become aware, observe and notice your thoughts, feelings and physical state without reacting to or merging with them. Although meditation and mindfulness can take some time, they can help reduce negativity and improve overall well-being.


2) Peer support

Support groups are essential to recovery. (Image via Pexels/Anna shvets)

Online peer support groups provide a private setting where you can post questions and personal experiences confidentially.

You can also get help from other group members who may be able to offer advice and suggestions based on their experiences. These online communities are places to seek support rather than advice, mental health care or crisis management, and are usually manned by experts or trained volunteers.


3) Define non-negotiables

Setting limits is essential for our well-being.  (Image via Pexels/Armin Rimoldi)
Setting limits is essential for our well-being. (Image via Pexels/Armin Rimoldi)

Setting limits and non-negotiables is essential in our careers, our interpersonal relationships, our passions, our health and our happiness. However, keep in mind that you may feel inadequate if there are no non-negotiables.

In their absence, there is no center of gravity within you and you are unsure of your identity. How can you know where you are going if you don’t know who you are? It can make you feel stuck and lost. You give in to the pressure. You become a victim of violent relationships and become depressed. You start to think you’re worthless.

So what aspects of yourself are you no longer willing to compromise on? Here are some examples that you can tell yourself: I will always have a chance. I will always find a way to find time to pursue my interests.


4) Logging

It may be beneficial to use writing as a therapeutic method to express your concerns.

It might even offer new insights. Journaling was found to increase mothers’ emotional well-being, reduce stress, and provide new perspective in a study of mothers who supported adult children with substance use disorders while under stress. .

Another study found that journaling helps reduce stress and improve perspective and contemplation. Due to the high incidence of burnout among medical residents, it has become a common tool for residency programs.


5) Focus on your sleep

Sleep is an essential function.  (Image via Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio)
Sleep is an essential function. (Image via Pexels/Andrea Piacquadio)

When our mental well-being takes a toll, focusing on our basic needs becomes essential.

You may feel drained all day if too many mental health issues are disrupting your sleep cycle. The quality of your sleep is just as important as the duration of your sleep. For example: a restless night’s sleep can leave you feeling exhausted the next day.

By abstaining from caffeine three hours before bed, developing a relaxing evening routine, and training your circadian rhythm by sleeping and waking up at the same time each day, you can improve the quality of your sleep.


6) Try animal-assisted therapy

Pet therapy is slowly gaining popularity.  (Image via Pexels/Valeria Boltneva)
Pet therapy is slowly gaining popularity. (Image via Pexels/Valeria Boltneva)

To help people with mental health problems, professionals can use dogs, horses and other animals. Animal-assisted therapy can help alleviate psychiatric and emotional symptoms, including anxiety and sadness.

Equine-assisted psychotherapy is an example of animal therapy (EAP). By teaching people to ride and care for horses, this horse-based therapy attempts to alter their emotions and behaviors.

Horses are extremely attentive and sensitive to human emotions, as they are predatory animals. Their innate sensitivity is used in therapy. Maintaining self-awareness and using the horse’s behavior as feedback is essential for participants as they focus on developing a connection based on mutual understanding.


Carry

There are many reasons people may find it difficult to engage in therapy, including expense, need for insurance, and increased demand.

Exercise (such as yoga and dance), meditation, art, music, journaling, and reading are some alternatives to therapy. There are mental health apps that can benefit as well.

Animals can also be a wonderful resource for emotional connection if you have access to them. Self-help, however, is only an alternative and not a solution to treating your condition, especially for people with serious mental illnesses, for whom the aforementioned techniques might not be helpful.


Janvi Kapur is a counselor and holds a master’s degree in applied psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology.


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