“I Need Someone to Talk To": 4 Ways to Get Help
By: Joy Youell
Updated July 08, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Dawn Brown
Life can be hard. Being alone can make it worse. However, everyone goes through ups and downs in life. Regardless of your personality or resilience, there will always be times when you simply shouldn't have to "go it alone." You may be carrying a burden, experiencing a loss, or grappling with a mental health issue like depression. Whatever scenario fits your situation, sometimes we all just need someone to talk to. There are a lot of ways that talking to others can help you, but you need to be able to find the right outlet.
How Talking To Someone Else Can Help
Talking to another person can help in many ways. You may want to talk to someone because of a traumatic event. You may want to talk to someone because you feel overwhelmed, confused or under pressure. Whatever the reason, talking to someone who cares can help you sort through everything in a productive way. Some of the ways that talking to another person can help you include:
Sorting Through Complex Feelings
You are a complex person. The thoughts and feelings that arise during times of heightened stress, when making big decisions or when dealing with potential mental health issues may feel new and a little scary. Talking to someone out loud or even online can help you begin to name what you feel. You can call out your emotions and then work through them.
What you feel is important. There is a significant connection between your mind and body, and this encompasses your thought life and emotional life. What you feel can often help you understand or process something you've experienced. Acknowledging your feelings is important. Another person can help you do this. They can also help you interpret and collect what you are saying in a meaningful way that addresses root issues.
Gain A New Perspective
Talking to someone else about your outward and inward life can help you gain a new perspective. People who listen well can reflect back to you what you are saying in a unique way. This can empower you to gain fresh understanding. Better understanding the cause of your feelings or seeing your situation more clearly is immensely helpful in moving forward.
An outside perspective is often the missing component as you think through events and incidents in your life. When weighing options, assessing experiences or remembering events, having someone else understand and lend an ear can be very helpful. You may see things you didn't see before. You may hear yourself articulate something you hadn't fully understood. This can represent a huge turning point as you process or make a decision.
Realize That You're Not Alone
If you're going through a period in your life where you feel alone, or like you're the only person that has experienced a certain situation or felt a certain way, talking to other people can help. We often hesitate to be transparent about our struggles. It's easy to live with a brave face. Talking about something can help you realize just how common your issue may be. It may also help you realize that you are not alone.
Hearing someone say, "I know how you feel" or "I've been there too," can help reassure you. You are not alone. Your reactions weren't strange or unnatural. Your motives are relatable. Your fears are shared. Sometimes this provides the motivation to persevere through difficulty. If you talk to somebody who has experienced similar circumstances, you can experience empathy and useful advice.
Talk to Someone: Build a Support System
The first place many people think the turn when they need someone to talk to is a family member or friend. It's important to have a good support system in place to help you deal with all the ups and downs of life.
Family members can be a valuable support system if you have a healthy relationship with your family. These are the people that have known you for the longest and have seen you in good times and bad times. They've been with you at your best and your worst.
However, your family doesn't have to be part of your support system. If you have a complicated relationship with your family, you don't need to turn to them when you're struggling. There are other people, including friends, who can be part of your support network. In fact, there are times when it's much better to get the perspective of someone who is not a family member.
What To Look For In A Support System
Not everybody you're close to is the right person to confide in during a tough season. When it comes to forming a support group in your life, you need to find people you can trust. Throughout different seasons of life, you will have different kinds of issues. You will want to build a good support system that has multiple people you can talk to about different things. For instance, you will know whether a certain friend can relate to a struggle you are going through. That may be the person to choose when you want to talk about that struggle.
There are a few things that you should look for before confiding in someone:
- Are they trustworthy?
- Are they a good listener?
- Do you trust their judgment?
Not every person is going to be the right person to go to for support. Be thoughtful as you choose the person you want to talk to about your life. Keep in mind, your support system may not have the right person to talk to for certain kinds of experiences, traumas, mental health issues or complicated struggles. In that case, you may choose to reach out to a professional.
Call A Hotline
If you don't have a support system or need immediate help, you can call a hotline. There are many different options that you can choose from depending on your situation.
When you call a hotline, you'll connect with someone who cares. People on the other end of the line are either working for an organization or donating their time with one because they care about the people that call. Even though they don't know you, they are setting aside time to be able to talk to you. They will be your listening ear if that's what you need. They will have resources that they can refer you to if you need additional help.
Whether you're looking for information, help with issues such as substance abuse or suicide, or you need someone to talk to, a hotline could be a good option.
- Contact Helpline for emotional listening: 1-800-932-4616 (Toll Free)
- Suicide Prevention Network 1-800-273-8255
- Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 and press 1
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
If one of these hotlines isn't right for you, a simple online search of what you're looking for will point you in the right direction.
Find an Online Support Group
One way to build your support system is to reach out to an online support group. There are many different options. For example, you could join an online forum of people that are dealing with issues that are similar to what you're dealing with. Or, you can find online membership groups that you can join for people going through similar things.
These groups can be helpful because you don't have to be face-to-face with people but can benefit from talking to people who understand. You will be able to both get support and offer support to other people.
If you're interested in joining a group, you can start by searching online to find a group that matches your needs.
Work With A Therapist
Therapy is another great option to turn to if you find yourself thinking, "I need someone to talk to." Mental health professionals are trained to discuss mental health challenges and life situations.
A therapist can be very helpful because they are impartial to your personal life. You can tell them things that you may not be comfortable telling people who personally know you. It's a counselor's job to listen to you and guide you without judging you. A therapist won't make decisions for you but will help you make the best decision that you can.
If you are dealing with a specific challenge like anxiety, depression or substance abuse, you can find a therapist that is trained in that area. They will know the best strategies that you can use to make the improvements that you're looking for in your life.
However, not everyone has access to reputable therapists nearby, and not everyone feels comfortable in a waiting room surrounded by other people. This is where online counseling services like ReGain come in. Whether you have a chronic mental health condition or are dealing with a specific event, online therapy can be a powerful solution. There are numerous ways that online counseling can benefit you:
- Ease of access: you can experience online therapy in your home
- Scheduling: you have a wide range of availability from numerous therapists, at a time that is convenient for you
- Regular and reliable: online therapy is consistent and can provide a reliable source of support
ReGain is an online therapy resource that has helped countless people overcome issues and move forward in their lives. Below are some reviews of ReGain counselors for you to review, from people experiencing similar issues.
"Gia has been my rock and go to. She is there, really there for me. Her advice and counseling has been spot on and I am so happy she is in my life. She has helped me get through the worst time of my life."
"Marlene is always there for me when I need her the most! I have a video call with her every week and feel more clear-headed and focused after every session. 100% recommend!"
Everyone has low points, issues and challenges in life. Talking to someone can help. If you feel like you need someone to talk to, you have options. You are not alone. By thoughtfully and intentionally building a support system, you will have people available to help in your time of need. Whether these are family, friends, online groups or an online therapist, there are many people who are ready to listen and help you overcome your obstacles. Don't hesitate to reach out and make connections that will benefit your life and wellness.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is there someone I can talk to about my problems?
When you’re experiencing a mental health issue, one of the best ways to help deal with it is by talking to someone. The best person to talk to about a mental health concern is a counselor or therapist. These people have years of training to help others who are experiencing emotional or behavioral problems, and can help you find lasting solutions for these problems. Who you talk to depends on who you are comfortable with, your access to transportation, and your budget. If you can’t find a local therapist near you, or would have trouble getting to appointments, an online therapy site would enable you to get help from the comfort of your own home. It gives you the freedom to choose appointment times that work best for you, without the pressure of trying to make it to in-person sessions.
How can I find someone to talk to?
The first step in getting help for your mental health issue is to find someone to talk to. While this may seem like a daunting task, it is much easier than you may think. Simply search for therapists or counselors in your area that specialize in whatever you are dealing with. Therapists specialize in treating certain disorders, from depression and anxiety to addiction or OCD symptoms. Make sure to check that they have the appropriate training and license, and set up an initial visit to see if they are a good fit for you. One of the more important parts of getting help is being comfortable with the therapist you choose; if you aren’t comfortable, you won’t be able to talk openly, which will hinder the therapist’s ability to diagnose and treat you.
If you aren’t able to get to in-person appointments, or have a medical condition that makes leaving the house difficult, you can consider online therapy instead. There are a number of different platforms available today for online therapy, all of which range in both price and the training level of their counselors or therapists. Make sure that, no matter what site you pick, they’re employing licensed therapists.
What does it mean to be talking with someone?
Talk therapy, or psychotherapy, is the most common type of therapy, and involves simply talking to a licensed mental health professional. It is a way for people to deal with a range of emotional or behavioral problems to increase their well-being by eliminating or controlling their symptoms. While some people can benefit from some type of medication to treat their symptoms, not everyone who goes to therapy will need medication. Some signs that you could benefit from talk therapy include:
- You feel an overwhelming, prolonged sense of helplessness and sadness.
- Your problems don't seem to get better despite your efforts.
- You find it difficult to concentrate on work, or to participate in everyday activities.
- You worry excessively, expect the worst, or always feel on edge.
- Your actions, such as drinking too much alcohol, using drugs, or having uncontrollable anger issues, are harming you or others.
Where can I talk to a therapist for free?
When money is an issue in getting help, there are some free or reduced cost options that you can look for in your community. Community centers, hospitals, schools, and places of worship sometimes offer free or low-cost counseling for local residents. If you live near a university that offers degrees in mental health, they almost always have a training clinic for students to get real-world practice under the guidance of a licensed professional before they graduate. These clinics are usually open to the public, and are often very inexpensive.
There are also some online therapy platforms that may offer free services. However, these sites often rely on volunteers or unlicensed counselors to provide free services, so this may not be the best route in order to treat your mental health concern.
What you should never tell your therapist?
Many people worry that there are things they shouldn’t tell their therapist, but this is in fact far from the truth. You should be able to be completely open with your therapist, and tell them everything that is going on in regards to your thoughts and actions. It is only by being totally open that you can get lasting results from therapy. If you feel uncomfortable telling your therapist certain aspects of your symptoms, the real problem is likely that this therapist isn’t right for you. Just as with friendship, you need to find someone that you genuinely like, respect, and can talk to without fear of judgement. If you aren’t finding this with your current therapist, it’s time to find someone else that is a better match for you so that you can open up and get the help that you need.
How do you know therapy is working?
The easiest way to tell if therapy is working for you is if your symptoms are lessening. Change can also be seen in having new coping mechanisms or other tools that help you deal with your symptoms in a more positive way, or if you look forward to your appointments with your therapist rather than dreading them. The results from therapy may take weeks or even months to show, so don’t be discouraged if you’ve just started and aren’t seeing results.
Where can I chat online?
In recent years, online chat options for therapy have begun to grow in popularity, so there are many options available to you. Simply do a search for online therapy, and take a look at what comes up. Do some research into the sites that you find to ensure that they are employing licensed therapists rather than volunteers or unlicensed counselors. Chat therapy has been found to be just as effective as in-person therapy, and has the added bonus of being available anytime that you need it.
Is talking to yourself a sign of loneliness?
While many people may not like to admit it, almost all of us talk to ourselves. Referred to as “self-talk,” it’s a tactic that is hardwired into our brains to help us process complicated thought processes or emotions. It doesn’t automatically mean that you are lonely, as it is a normal thing that most people do. But if you find that you talk to yourself to fill up silence when you are alone, then it could be a sign that you are lonely. We are social creatures by nature, and crave conversation and connections with other people. If we aren’t getting that interaction during our normal day, it isn’t unusual to resort to talking to yourself instead. But when loneliness gets too bad, it can affect many different aspects of our mental well-being. Finding a therapist or counselor to talk to can help ease loneliness, and they may also be able to suggest ways for you to find more social interaction in your daily life.
Do churches offer free counseling?
If you’re an active (or even lapsed) member of a church, this can be a good route for you to take to find free counseling. Many churches offer free counseling services for their members, and some will also offer group counseling meetings for non-members. Even churches that don’t offer counseling on-site may have information that they can provide you to put you in touch with local organizations that provide free mental health counseling, or they may even have a member of the congregation that offers free or reduced cost counseling to those in need.
Where can I chat online with strangers?
If you’re worried about anonymity when it comes to finding online therapy, there are many sites that allow you to chat with a licensed counselor or therapist without having to reveal any of your personal information. This is a good option for people who are in a situation where their family members may frown upon them seeking help for their mental health issues. Simply search for online therapy websites that allow you to hide your personal information, and choose the one that you think will work best for you.
What is the most popular chat app?
There are a surprising number of therapy chat apps available today, so finding one is certainly not a difficult task. The five most popular are: talkspace, BetterHelp, Larkr, ReGain, and teencounseling. All range in price and offerings; some may also give you the option to talk on the phone or via a live meeting. Make sure that whichever chat app you chose is reputable, and employs licensed counselors or therapists.
Which app is best for live chat?
The best app for live chat depends on each individual person. While some may allow you to always work with the same counselor or therapist, others may simply connect you with whomever is available at the time. Some specialize in couples therapy, while others focus on individual therapy. The best app for you will be the one that best targets your needs and desires, and employs licenced counselors or therapists.
What to do if you need to talk to someone?
It's natural to feel lonely at times. Human beings crave social interaction. Expressing your feelings can feel like a relief when you're carrying an emotional burden. If you need to talk to someone, there are many resources you can use to find support. Some people turn to social media to connect with online friends or reconnect with loved ones. Other people feel more comfortable speaking to a licensed counselor or therapist. Whether you see a therapist online or in your local area, a mental health professional can provide unbiased support, without judging you. There are peer support groups online where you can find someone who can give a friend's emotional guidance. It's a type of relationship that differs from a therapist. A peer support person is on your level. They can offer advice, lend a listening ear, or provide resources for further help. Some people have trouble opening up to a friend or even a therapist. A peer support specialist has lived experience with mental health conditions. Maybe live with anxiety, and they can offer you a place to vent about panic attacks. A peer support specialist can share what they've experienced and help you feel less alone. The relationship has more transparency and reciprocation than a client/client connection. A therapist may not be able to offer advice the same way a peer support specialist can. Peer-to-peer support is more about sharing common experiences. This is an individual who helps you find ways to cope with your problems, whether dealing with substance abuse, depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns.
Is there a hotline I can call just to talk?
There are hotlines where you can talk to a supportive person on the other end. There are places to call or text where you can be completely anonymous and talk about your problems. One place is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained listeners, on the other end, are waiting to hear your problems. The Lifeline is an excellent place to find support when you're feeling distressed. If you're in an abusive relationship and need help, there's the national domestic violence hotline. For more information on different hotlines to call if you need support, you can contact NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). There is also online therapy and telehealth. Some people meet with their online therapist via phone. Studies show that online therapy is effective at treating many different mental health conditions, such as depression.
Why do I find it hard to talk?
There are many reasons you could find it hard to talk or open up to others. Perhaps life is overwhelming, and you don't know where to start. Maybe you're a private person, and talking about your problems doesn't come intuitively. You could be better at writing out your feelings, rather than saying them aloud. It's okay if you're finding it hard to open up and say how you feel. Many people experience these issues. That's one reason that therapy is helpful. It's a wonderful place to open up at your pace. Whether online or in your local area, a therapist isn't going to rush you to be ready to reveal your feelings. It's crucial that you feel safe before expressing your emotions or delving into a traumatic past. Developing a relationship with your therapist takes time and a level of trust.
What should I not tell my therapist?
What you should or shouldn't tell your therapist is ultimately up to you. It's important to remember that your therapist keeps your information completely confidential unless you disclose that you want to hurt yourself or another person. Therapy is a safe space where you can work through challenging problems that may be difficult to face. Your therapist is there through it all to support you.
What to do when you want to talk to someone but can't?
There are moments in life when you crave human connection. You might try to call or text a friend, and they don't answer. That can be difficult when you're experiencing emotional distress. Before you panic, remember that there are things you can do if you're waiting to talk to someone or hear back. Practicing mindfulness can be extremely helpful during these times. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Feeling anxious is a challenging emotion. It could feel as if you're out of control. There are many things we can't change in life. But one thing we can be sure of is that we're breathing.
Another thing you can do if you're lonely is a journal. You may not know precisely how you're feeling, but once you write down your thoughts on paper, you'll gain some clarity. It can be hard to remember at the moment, but these difficult times will pass, and there will be a person who is ready to hear from you and validate your feelings. It might be a licensed therapist. If you're struggling to find someone to talk to, it might be a time to reach out to a counselor who can help you develop a support system. That way, you will have people to draw upon when you feel lonely.
Who can I talk to when I'm lonely?
Feeling lonely is difficult for many people. Maybe you don’t feel comfortable being by yourself. Some people enjoy having time away from others. But, there's a difference between being alone and feeling lonely. It's crucial to work on developing a set of friends and loved ones you can rely on in times of need. Remember, nobody can be there for you 100 percent of the time. Everyone has their problems and life challenges. That's why having a support system of different people who care about you will help you feel less lonely. When you're feeling alone, call or text someone you care about, or a friend you haven't connected in a while. Sometimes when you're feeling down, you don't feel like you have the energy to reach out. Loneliness is a cycle, and one way to stop it is to take action towards being with someone else.