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Where to Find Free Mental Health Resources around Boston

Boston Magazine

Finding the right therapist can be hard. And if you need help right now, it can be even harder and more frustrating to go through the process of setting up initial evaluations and appointments—especially virtually. Now, more than ever, with social distancing guidelines and the imminent threat of a deadly virus, your mental health might be taking a toll. It might be even harder to take care of yourself because the very practices you once used to cope, like exercise, shopping, or socializing with friends, hardly look like they once did.

So, we thought we’d help you get started. If you’re struggling to summon the energy to begin the process of finding a therapist, here’s a list of free mental health resources around Boston, ranging from helplines to social support groups to tips and advice on dealing with anxiety and what social media accounts might be helpful to follow. If you’re looking for a clinician to talk with through teletherapy, it can help for the search to be a little more directed, and some of these resources can guide you in that endeavor as well.

Try to keep your head up, and don’t put off reaching out for help—that first step can be hard, but your mental health is worth it.

Massachusetts Department of Mental Health

Collectively, we’re all under some extra stress right now, whether you’re conscious of it or not. The Department of Health has an extensive list of resources to aid anyone who is struggling right now that was created specifically for the coronavirus crisis. There are tips for healthy coping, advice for how to combat isolation and loneliness, activities for kids, and telephone peer support groups. There are also resources and support for survivors of domestic violence and a list of news and social media accounts to follow.

National Alliance on Mental Illness Massachusetts

NAMI Massachusetts is a nonprofit organization that works to provide education and support programs, as well as taking part in advocacy efforts. Through their website, you can find peer support, look for a provider, and browse other resources, some of which are particularly geared toward young people. If you’re looking for a therapist to talk to, this is a great website to compare which providers take your insurance, and it also provides links to services that can refer you to appropriate counselors or social workers in Massachusetts. In addition, on the second and fourth Thursday of every month, they host a free Support@Home meeting via Zoom that includes a short wellness presentation followed by a facilitated group conversation.

Network of Care Massachusetts

Besides just providing a way for patients to get help from a provider, Network of Care Massachusetts has also created an extensive COVID-19 mental health PDF that includes information on self-care and coping strategies during the pandemic, working from home tips, and mindfulness and meditation resources. The COVID-19 information hub they compiled also includes information specific to food assistance, housing and shelter, and unemployment. It is also kept updated with government regulations from Governor Charlie Baker.

The Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline

If you or someone you know struggles with substance abuse, this time can be extra difficult. The Massachusetts Substance Use Helpline is available for adults and youth struggling with addiction. The call line is available 24/7 at 800-327-5050, and you can also search for providers and recovery community activities. Included on their COVID-19 resources page is information on how substances can impact immune systems and lead to increased risk of contracting the virus.

The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics

There are approximately 1,400 free and charitable clinics and pharmacies across the nation, and around Boston, there are a few to choose from. The closest ones are in Malden, Wellesley, and Sudbury. Luckily, most clinics have transitioned to online teletherapy services for virtual care. Included on their website is information regarding how to take care of yourself and others during coronavirus, as well as information on how to download the mindfulness app Headspace for free if you are a healthcare worker.

Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry

The hospital has compiled a long list of resources for those struggling with mental health. There are resources for general coping, specific mental health conditions, and activities families and children can do together to reduce stress and anxiety. For health care providers, there are even specially developed resources to highlight the mental health needs specific to what they’re going through.

If you, or a family member, are experiencing a mental health crisis call the Emergency Services Program/Mobile Crisis Intervention hotline at 1-877-382-1609.