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 Pennsylvania, United States, there are 14 helplines that support with a range of mental health or behavioral health concerns.
Feeling hesitant to reach out is completely normal. Knowing what to expect can help you feel more comfortable.
Helplines, also known as hotlines or crisis lines, exist to provide free, confidential help to anyone in need of emotional support. Some helplines offer their services over the phone, and others over text message or chat. Many are available 24/7.
Helpline responders support you by listening to you, helping you understand your emotions better, and working with you on a plan forward. Having a plan about what to do next can help you feel more in control.
Helplines are usually staffed by counselors and volunteers who are trained in how to support people in an emotional crisis. Some helplines are also run by peers who have a similar life experience to the topic they provide support with.
Some helplines support with specific issues, such as suicide, depression, anxiety, and abuse. Others support with specific demographics, such as the LGBTQ+ community, veterans or young people. So if you're looking for tailored support, you might be able to find a hotline specific to your problem. There are also helplines that support with any problem that’s causing you distress – no matter how small or big it seems to you.
For help with thoughts about harming yourself or ending your life, you can contact a suicide prevention hotline, also known as a crisis line or lifeline. Suicide hotlines are available 24/7 in most countries. These crisis services commonly support with any problem you might be facing, so you can also call them if you aren't thinking about suicide.
When a friend or family member is going through a mental health crisis, it can be difficult to know how to help. Helplines will offer advice on how you can best support your loved one, whether that be through ways you can support them or outside support they may be able to get.
In Pennsylvania, United States, there are 14 hotlines and helplines that support with a range of topics.
Today, there are over 2,000 helplines and hotlines across the world. While they may support different topics and populations, each and every one of them share the same goal: to help those experiencing emotional or mental distress to get through the current pain and find a meaningful path forward. When you feel alone, hopeless or stuck, having a conversation on a helpline can help you feel heard, supported and empowered.