Finding Support Outside Family and Friends

On a daily basis, mental health topics can be found in numerous articles and hashtags. However, there is still a stigma attached to it in our society and our homes. Well meaning friends may say the worst thing at the wrong time. Family members can dismiss our suffering. We might be told to exercise, try yoga, and pray as if these things are magical fixes.

“Spread your needs around,” meaning don’t rely on any one thing or one person for support.

Years ago in San Diego, a wise therapist once said: “spread your needs around”, meaning don’t rely on any one thing or one person for support. But, it’s not so easy to “spread your needs around” when there is no one around to listen and offer support without judgment, shame, or disapproval. What are we to do when we find ourselves in crisis or having a bad mental health day with no friends or family to turn to? Well, then we must find or create our own support system.

Here are some ways to find support and connect with others who can act as a support system in lieu of or in addition to friends and family:

Get Social

  • Search Facebook for online support groups and support pages for your condition(s). A lot of the groups are private, so friends and family won’t see group content or that you’re even a group member. (A fair warning: social media communities are moderated by people who are generally not trained mental health specialists. If moderators or members of a group seem toxic, get out of there and find another safe online space.)
  • Search topics on Youtube to find and follow vloggers who have similar experiences.
  • Join and search for local groups that engage in activities you enjoy, such as a group for nature lovers or adult coloring.
  • Join a site such as Smart Patients where you can ask questions and get advice from others who are experiencing similar conditions via message boards.

There’s An App For That

  • Search your phone’s app store for free apps like Headspace and Calm that provide mindfulness training and guided mediation.
  • Download 7 Cups, an app with features similar to Headspace and Calm that also offers the opportunity to chat with a “trained listener” for free or a licensed counselor for an additional fee. Watch how it works in this short video

Non-Traditional Counseling

Traditional Counseling

  • Check out Subconscious’ guide to navigating therapy and breaking it down to the basics
  • Visit “Psychology Today” online and search their extensive therapist directory to find a counselor who specializes in your condition and accepts your insurance. This is how I found my current counselor.
  • Do an online search for local hospitals and community centers and see what group therapy sessions are currently being offered.

Make your mental health a priority and build the best support system you can by building multiple avenues of support. 

If you or someone you know are experiencing a crisis, please contact 1-800-273-8255.

This post was written by Jenise Michele. Please send any questions or concerns to

Interested in writing about mental health? Join the Subconscious Contributors.