You desperately need some help, you’ve finally told someone and made the move to get it, but alas you get put on a waiting list?! But I need help now!

Never fear, sparkles! As hopeless as it may seem, there are a surprising amount of other avenues available to us, in this beautiful, modern and technical age, and I will be discussing 3 of which I know.

Of course, the ones we know the most about are things such as the Samaritans. Although they can be extremely helpful, it’s made up of everyday people like you and me, and it can be difficult to even work up the courage to call! If you’re anything like me, you hate talking on the phone or having 1:1 because there’s this stigma that we have to look/sound “ill”, which is crazy right?

So what do we do? We who might struggle with social contact, or struggle with the courage it needs, when we’ve ALREADY been put on a waiting list?

First option: Online CBT.

For example, for those within the UK, there is https://www.iesohealth.com/en-gb who offer free CBT therapy, by trained therapists, quick and easy.

Now, this therapy is not meant for long-term, but is really handy while you’re on a waiting list! In fact, for those who are reading this and who maybe haven’t even got to the stage of even approaching their GPs and Doctors, this can be a lifesaver!

What it involves is simply you, the internet, a therapist, and a chatroom. That’s it.

There is no vocal talking, no picture or video chat, no pressure to look or sound “ill” at all! I myself have used this service and found it incredibly helpful!

You will have to try. Your therapist will ask initially what few things are affecting you most, and those will be the things to work on. They will then book appointments with you weekly, and set goals with you related to overcoming your issues. These appointments are amazing because as long as you’ve got an internet connection you can just join the chatroom! In fact, I once did one of my appointments on my phone whilst out walking!

There are so many online therapy avenues like this, for example for those in the US, there are sites such as https://www.7cups.com, which offer both a trained listener service, as well as paid online counselling.

The next avenue I’d like to talk about is one which I have just recently discovered. That is, “Letters Against Depression.” Their site is at http://www.lettersagainst.org, and it is more for less immediate help. The idea is, you sign up for free, tell them as much or as little of your story as you like, and you receive letters in the post from real people! The first letter will be longer, and the more you tell them in your story, the more personal they can make it.

After this, they then continue to send you smaller, boosting-type letters to help keep you afloat.

Everybody likes receiving something in the post, and although your address is not given to anyone, the writers may put their own address in, and you have the decision to write back! Maybe if you’re comfortable you can even put a return address, and voila: Mental Health Pen-Pal Support!

Not only that but sometimes it’s actually better to help others in order to help ourselves. You can also sign up with Letters Against Depression to be a writer, and you can answer fellow people’s stories, share your story too, and maybe help someone know that they MATTER – because we all matter.

Lastly, I’d like to talk about the Spark Peer Support Group on Facebook. This group has been an incredible help to me, as well as many other people just like you. It is a secret Facebook group. This means that, unless your friends and family are already a part of the group, nothing you post in the group is visible to them. With Facebook being such a big part of our lives, sometimes it can be so tempting to post a big vent on Facebook… But wait, what if my parents/partner/family/friends see it and how would they react and what if-

With the Spark support group, there’s no fear of that. You can vent freely, and friendly, loving people with the same struggles can share their advice, experiences and empathy.

In fact, just like Letters Against Depression, you can switch it around and you can help others too!

With all these avenues, there is no need to panic when put on a waiting list, because help can be just around the corner!

– Frankie Francis