Mental health resources when you can’t find a therapist

How do you take care of your mental health when you can’t find a therapist? We turned to 300 mental health providers to help answer that question.

We learned that long waits for therapy are real, and many providers don’t even keep waiting lists because they don’t want to give patients false hope. “Our doors are getting knocked down,” said Kayla Johnson, a licensed psychologist in Tomball, Tex. “I know the need is so great. I wish I could help them, but I’m at capacity.”

Shawn Dobson, a licensed professional counselor in Smyrna, Ga. created a 12-step support group, TraumAnon, which she live-streams weekly on TikTok and Facebook.

Steve Schlozman, a child psychiatrist with Dartmouth Health Children’s in Lebanon, N.H., said he has reached out to clergy, school guidance counselors and even soccer coaches to act as de facto therapists for children and adolescents suffering from depression.

Because therapists are on the front lines of the mental health crisis, we asked them for their best advice for getting mental health help when you can’t find a therapist. Reporter Lindsey Bever brought all this advice together in a helpful guide. It turns out, there are a number of resources — including mental health apps, group therapy, support groups and even your friends who can offer support as you are waiting to work with a therapist.

“The act of going to therapy is not therapy. Therapy is applying the skills — thinking through different ways of understanding oneself between the sessions,” said Lakeasha Sullivan, a clinical psychologist with a private practice in Atlanta who has written for The Washington Post. “The real work happens between sessions, and people can engage in that real work before they consult with a professional.”

Learn more by reading the full article, “10 ways to get mental health help during a therapist shortage.”

Meanwhile, we’ve put together our own list of additional stories to help answer your mental health questions. You can find all of our reporting on mental health issues in the “mind” section of The Washington Post.

How to know if it’s depression or just ‘normal’ sadness

Perfectionists: Lowering your standards can improve your mental health

4 emotional workouts to help you feel empowered and promote resilience

A psychiatry wait list had 880 patients; a hospital couldn’t keep up

Election stress survival guide

Election Day is coming. The results may be cause for some people to celebrate and others to be devastated. Whatever side you’re on, elections — particularly political disagreements among friends and family — can be stressful.

We’ve got advice. To start, it helps to learn why so many of us are vulnerable to political misinformation. “Our psychological biases and predispositions make us vulnerable to falsehoods,” Richard Sima reports in the latest Brain Matters column. “As a result, misinformation is more likely to be believed, remembered and later recalled — even after we learn that it was false.”

And remember, don’t let the outcome of the election — or discussions about misinformation — ruin your Thanksgiving holiday. Experts say the holiday table is not the place to have these conversations.

Instead, invite someone out to coffee and make it a one-on-one conversation. Avoid confrontations.

Why do our brains believe lies?

9 tips to debunk false claims made by friends and family

8 ways to feel less anxious about things beyond your control

How to detox from election anxiety, according to mental health experts

The social media highlight of my week was this video of a horseshoe crab helping out another, who had flipped over. It’s a little stressful to watch, but, spoiler alert, it all works out in the end.

We’ve had a busy week at The Post. Here’s a roundup:

Why daylight saving time is worse for your body than standard time

Aerosol hair products tainted by benzene may still be on store shelves

How to survive a crowd crush and why they can become deadly

Three ways to fix sleep issues when nothing else works

Ask a Doctor: Is animal protein easier to absorb than plant protein?

Your doctor may have dropped you if you haven’t been seen in a few years

How to support your sober friends when everyone is drinking

Please let us know how we are doing. Email us at

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