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How do I get Mental Health Support?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Asking how to get mental health support is a good question. Many people ask for support for things like grief, personal development, couple or family problem resolution and growth, and diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. A related issue is time in which support is needed, with some issues more time sensitive than others and requiring different types of support. Essentially why a person seeks help and the nature of the help sought suggests obtaining support in different ways and from diverse specialists or settings.

Many people get mental health support for individual/personal growth or to deal with issues arising with couples or families. Provided that no one in any of these scenarios is behaving in a manner that is harmful/dangerous to self or others and is not homicidal or suicidal, people can take a little time to explore options. Some people find personal growth support in group settings, and occasionally group work is available for couples or families. There are even couple and family retreats that may work on issues like conflict resolution.

Another source of help for individuals, families and couples, is personal therapy. There are plenty of gifted licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs), marriage and family therapists (MFTs) and psychologists that can help people get advice, know the self better, and learn to interact in more satisfying ways or to heal real and hurtful rifts that stem from difficult pasts and/or poor relations. As long as those wanting to get mental health support are stable, people can shop around and find the best therapist, or make certain of other issues like the therapist participating in a health insurance plan.

The matter changes completely when an issue includes serious untreated mental illness or violence. For people who are mentally ill and without treatment, the place to go first is to a doctor, preferably a psychiatrist, and if the matter is urgent and life-threatening, people should proceed directly to an emergency room, psychiatric emergency intake center, or mental hospital. When there is family/couple violence likely to occur, possibly the first best choice is to be away from the person who is violent, potentially report to the police, and get assistance from groups that counsel abused spouses or families. Similarly when substance abuse is involved, swifter treatment at a substance abuse clinic or hospital may be the best way to get mental health support.

Other issues, such as grieving, are handled by community organizations. For those looking to get mental health support for a recent loss, consider contacting these local agencies.

If unsure what a community agency is called, physicians and hospitals may have names and contact information. Many people also find help chatting with others on the Internet through loss support groups, and some people with other mental health challenges find groups on the Internet that are well worth joining. Standards of advice or support in these settings may be high, but are not always as predictable as standards upheld by therapists, psychiatrists, and real world community groups.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGEEK contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

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Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGEEK contributor, Tricia...
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