If You Need to Talk to Someone, Reach Out

If You Need to Talk to Someone, Reach Out

Two young women talking on a bench

Don't be afraid or ashamed to talk to someone about how you are feeling. Reach out! There are many places and people who want to help. It might not feel obvious, and you might not even believe it, but don’t give up. While talking to people about your problems can feel uncomfortable, it can help give you perspective and find support. If you are not sure whom to talk to, here are some ideas: 

Talk with Someone You Know and with Whom You Feel Comfortable

Think of the people in your life who have been supportive or with whom you feel comfortable. That person might be a friend, family member, guidance counselor, coach or teacher, faith-based or community leader, or your family doctor or medical provider. 

Talk with Someone You Don’t Know Who Has Been Trained to Help

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a tremendous resource—whether you are feeling suicidal or just don’t know where else to turn. Their counselors are trained to help you feel comfortable, and they can help you find an appropriate place or person for ongoing support or help. 

Talk with a Mental Health Professional

Here are some tips for finding a mental health provider. Find someone you like and trust. Ask them questions. Use Find a Therapist if you are looking for a psychologist, psychiatrist, or clinic affiliated with the Columbia University Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, as well as clinics and therapists elsewhere in the New York metropolitan area. 

Find a Counseling or Health Center

If you are in high school, college, or graduate school, visit the counseling or health center. If you are not sure how to find one at your school, we recommend searching for “counseling,” “mental health,” or “health center” on your high-school or college website. If you live in college housing, the resident assistants or housing office should also be able to point you in the right direction. ULifeline.org also has a Find your school tool to help college students find a local counseling center. 

Find a Support Group

Sharing with and hearing from others going through similar problems can be helpful. Some support groups are run by peers, while others are run by professional mental health providers. Our list of New York City support groups is not comprehensive, but it’s a good place to start. Mental Health America maintains a list of specialized support groups, and NAMI has programs and support groups in almost every state.  

Go Local

In New York City, NYC Well has free, confidential mental health support. Speak to a counselor via phone, text, or chat. The SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator can help you locate a treatment facility in your region. NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, has chapters with classes, support groups, and more in all 50 states. Mental Health America also has chapters across the country.