Whether you're experiencing a mental health crisis or you're worried about a loved one's mental health, free help is available to you. In Illinois, United States, there are 15 helplines that support with a range of mental health or behavioral health concerns.
If you have doubts about calling, that's normal. Learning more about helplines and what to expect can help you feel more confident to call.
A helpline is a free, confidential counseling service available to anyone experiencing difficulties in their mental health, or worried about the mental health of someone they know. They are sometimes known as crisis lines or hotlines, and offer support over the phone, text message or chat. Some are available 24/7.
Helplines provide a judgment-free space for you to talk, unpack your burdens and receive support. Their support may take the form of active listening, help processing emotions, and working with you to determine meaningful next steps.
When you contact a helpline, you'll commonly speak to a volunteer or counselor who has been trained in crisis counseling or active listening, and is equipped to support you. Some helplines are operated by people who have a similar experience to the issue or topic that the helpline supports.
Helplines are there for anyone who might be in need of free support for mental and behavioral health problems. If you are struggling with something specific, such as suicide, depression, anxiety, or domestic violence, there are often helplines that cater specifically to these issues. You may also be able to contact a helpline related to your demographic, such as helplines that are specifically for teenagers, veterans or the LGBTQ+ community. A lot of helplines provide support for a variety of mental and behavioral health issues, so you can talk with them about anything that is concerning you.
If you've had thoughts about harming yourself or even ending your life, there are suicide prevention hotlines that can help. These helplines, otherwise known as lifelines or crisis lines, are typically available to offer support 24/7. Most suicide hotlines also support with any topic that is on your mind, which means you don't have to be suicidal to contact them.
Helplines aren't just for the times when you need support. They can also be helpful if you're worried about someone else. When you contact a helpline for advice about someone you care about, they will talk with you about how you might support the person. This might look like support resources that person is able to access, or behaviors or actions you can take to help their situation.
In Illinois, United States, there are 15 hotlines and helplines that support with a range of topics.
Globally, there are over 2,000 helplines and hotlines, and the support they offer varies across topics and populations. What unites them is their shared aim to support people who are experiencing mental health distress or emotional pain. Helplines are there to assist you in a time of emotional pain, and to support those who may be noticing warning signs of an emotional crisis in those they care about.