Since the Israel-Hamas War ignited on Oct. 7, it feels as though we've been bombarded online with graphic information and imagery of the horrors unfolding in the Middle East.
The war has flooded news and social media, in some cases, sowing political division. The trauma is heightened for those directly affected by the conflict, but anyone can be impacted and experience vicarious trauma. Today, the BBC acknowledged the toll the war is taking on its staff and has offered more mental health support.
If you feel as though your mental health has been negatively impacted by the ongoing conflict, here’s who you can contact for help.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
SAMHSA runs a Disaster Distress Helpline that is toll-free, multilingual and available 24/7 to all residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters. This includes survivors of disasters, loved ones of victims, first responders, rescue, recovery, and relief workers, clergy, parents and caregivers calling on behalf of themselves or someone else.
Each Disaster Distress Helpline Core Region Center has crisis counselors who are trained to listen and offer support to people in emotional crisis, the agency says.
You can speak with a counselor immediately by calling or texting 1-800-985-5990. For deaf and hard of hearing callers, you can call the same number from a videophone or access a video conference call online by following this link from the government website.
If you’re looking to receive mental health treatment or therapy, call SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 or TTY: 1-800-487-4889. The confidential, free, 24/7 information service in English and Spanish for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups and community-based organizations.
You can also visit SAMHSA’s online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message to 435748 to find help near you.
Read More: How to Help Victims of the Israel-Hamas War
Crisis Text Line
Crisis Text Line is a global nonprofit organization that provides text access to a crisis counselor. It is staffed by volunteers who undergo a multi-stage application process, background check and training program, and then are supervised by staff with master’s degrees in a relevant field or commensurate crisis intervention experience, the organization says. The service is available in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Ireland.
In Canada, text CONNECT to 686868. The line is jointly run with Kids Help Phone.
From the U.K. text SHOUT to 85258. Shout is an affiliate of Crisis Text Line in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
For Ireland, text HOME to 50808.
Find A Helpline
No matter where you are in the world, use this search engine to find a mental health helpline by country, region and/or topic. Mental healthcare company ThroughLine, which has partnered with Google, verifies and publishes the online tool.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
In the U.S., you can contact NAMI’s HelpLine to communicate with a volunteer. Connect by phone 1-800-950-6264 or text "HelpLine" to 62640, or chat online. It is available Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
NAMI also publishes a resource directory where you find help online and in-person help by topic and runs local chapters where you can attend support groups in person.
Find mental health therapy online or in-person
If you’re in the U.S. and looking for more personalized and ongoing mental health therapy, it can be difficult to find or afford a therapist, especially if you don’t have health insurance.
The American Psychiatric Association runs a database where you can search for a psychiatrist near you. The American Psychological Association refers to its state chapters where you can find therapists by location, including in some states finding those working pro bono or on a sliding scale. If you don’t have insurance, the federal government recommends searching for a community health center near you that might offer free or low-cost mental healthcare.
Nonprofit nationwide network Open Path Psychotherapy Collective is another option that offers therapy at a reduced cost for people who are uninsured or underinsured. Pay a lifetime membership fee of $65, then schedule with a therapist for $40 to $70 a session, with $30 student intern sessions available. You can join the network and find a therapist online.
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