Best Online Anxiety Support Groups of 2021

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Anxiety is considered to be the most common mental illness in the country — impacting over 40 million adults in the United States alone — and anxiety support groups are incredibly helpful tools for those living with anxiety. However, since not everyone may be able to make it to these groups in person, a number of them exist online, so you can still have that group support system without the need to show up at a location. 

Online anxiety groups typically consist of a manageable group of anxiety sufferers that’s moderated by a volunteer who may be a current or former anxiety sufferer themself. While they may have a regular time for meetings, participants can usually also leave messages for the group at any time. Online anxiety support groups can be an incredibly useful aspect of anxiety treatment, so here we rounded up the best options for you.

Best Online Anxiety Support Groups of 2021

Best Overall : SMART Recovery


SMART Recovery

 SMART Recovery

Key Specs: 

  • Cost: Free.
  • Therapy Modalities: Discussion Forum.

Why We Chose It:  SMART Recovery offers support for changing self-destructive patterns for anxiety and addiction sufferers.

Pros
  • Healthy coping skills 

  • Groups online or in-person

  • 24/7 online support forum

  • Help for family/friends of sufferers

Cons
  • Not geared towards anxiety specifically

SMART Recovery isn’t just for people with anxiety: It’s also for anyone who has experienced addiction. And since 20% of individuals with anxiety are likely to experience a substance abuse problem, a support group that addresses both substance use and anxiety may be a useful resource for many individuals.

The program doesn’t use labels like "addict" or "alcoholic." Instead, it talks about changing self-destructive habits. The program leaders acknowledge that addictive behaviors serve a purpose—they help people cope with life’s problems in the short term. But they also explain that addictive behavior creates new problems and makes existing ones worse in the long-term.

SMART Recovery focuses on teaching healthy coping skills that work. Meetings address present-day events and the causes of self-destructive behavior. Members aren’t required to revisit the past.

SMART Recovery groups are available via online video or in-person. Online meetings are offered throughout the day almost every day. And since group leaders are located around the world, meetings take place over a variety of time zones. Each meeting is educational and free of charge.

In addition to regular meetings, they also offer an online forum that allows individuals to post messages 24/7. These online support groups may be best for anyone who is using substances to try and cope with their anxiety or for those who have developed anxiety alongside an addiction.

Best Free Screening Tools : Mental Health America


Mental Health America

 Mental Health America

Key Specs:

  • Cost: Free
  • Therapy Modalities: Discussion forum

Why We Chose It: It has a free online discussion forum for anxiety and phobias.

Pros
  • Online discussion forum

  • Free

  • Community leaders

  • Mental illness screening tools

  • Offer articles and self-help tools

Cons
  • No official support group for anxiety

  • Not very guided

Mental Health America is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting mental health. They offer a variety of services and programs, including an online discussion forum.

They do not offer an official support group for anxiety, but they do offer a free forum for anxiety and phobias. Members can ask questions about anything anxiety-related, such as which medications might be helpful and how to deal with specific symptoms.

There are community leaders who monitor the forums, and they say the purpose of their forums is to “connect patients, families, friends, and caregivers for support and inspiration.”

They also offer screening tools that can help you identify if you might have a mental illness, such as anxiety or PTSD. Simply click on the screening test you’d like to take and you’ll be given a few questions to answer about your symptoms. Within a few minutes, the site will let you know if you should talk to your physician or a mental health professional about the possibility of having a certain condition.

They provide many other online resources, such as articles and self-help opportunities.

Best Informational Site : Anxiety and Depression Association of America


ADAA Online Support Group

 ADAA Online Support Group

Key Specs:

  • Cost: Free.
  • Therapy Modalities: Messages.

Why We Chose It: We love that it’s a peer support group and lots of information and resources for anxiety sufferers.

Pros
  • Forum open at any time to share experiences

  • Can join specific help groups

  • Information to access in-person support

  • Extensive director of therapists

Cons
  • Groups not led by trained professionals

  • Not the most intuitive website

Anxiety and Depression Association of America provides extensive information and resources on anxiety, as well as an anonymous online peer-to-peer support group. They have more than 40,000 subscribers from around the world.

The goal for their forums is to provide a safe and friendly place for individuals with anxiety and their loved ones to share information and experiences.

The groups are not held at specific times. Instead, you can enter the forum and ask questions, reply to others, or share your experiences.

When you join the group, you can connect with other people who understand what you’re going through. You can access the forums via your desktop or through their app for iPhones.

The site also shares information on how to access local in-person support groups. There is a directory of anxiety support groups available in many states and countries.

And if you’re looking to find a therapist to provide you with one-on-one therapy, they also have an extensive directory of therapists who treat anxiety.

Best for Free One-on-One Support : 7 Cups of Tea


7 Cups of Tea

 7 Cups of Tea

Key Specs:

  • Cost: Free or $150 a month for online therapy.
  • Therapy Modalities: Live chat, Discussion forum.

Why We Chose It: We chose 7 Cups of Tea because it offers three levels of support for anxiety sufferers, including paid professionals.

Pros
  • Forums for dealing with various mental illnesses

  • Interact with peers day or night

  • One-on-one support

  • Inexpensive online therapy

Cons
  • Online therapy may be cost prohibitive

  • Need to sign up for membership

If you’re looking to get as much support as you can, 7 Cups of Tea might be your best option, which offers support from peers, trained volunteers, and paid professionals.

Their site hosts forums to help people dealing with issues such as depression and anxiety. The anxiety support forum offers a variety of resources and serves as an excellent place to share information and experiences about panic attacks, general anxiety, social anxiety, phobias, medications, coping skills, and more.

The forum is very active and it can be a great place to interact with other people who are experiencing anxiety any time of day or night.

7 Cups of Tea also provides opportunities to speak with someone one-on-one. You can be connected to a trained volunteer free of charge. Trained listeners are available 24/7 to support you when you need someone to talk to.

If you’re looking for professional help, 7 Cups of Tea also offers online therapy for $150 dollars per month. You can send messages to a therapist whenever you want and a therapist will typically respond one or two times per day.

Best Peer-to-Peer Support Group : TheTribe


TheTribe

 TheTribe

Key Specs:

  • Cost: Free.
  • Therapy Modalities: Discussion forum.

Why We Chose It: TheTribe is a safe online space with numerous peer-to-peer support groups and trained listeners.

Pros
  • Post in forum or chat live

  • Complete inspiring activities and help

  • Over 100,000 members

  • Chart your moods with mood map

Cons
  • Website and app a bit overwhelming

  • Not specifically for anxiety sufferers

The Tribe offers peer-to-peer support groups for individuals coping with fear and stress associated with anxiety disorders. Access to support groups is free of charge. Members of their support groups report that in addition to professional treatment, sharing stories and meeting others who can relate to them can be therapeutic. They also report that individuals who have social anxiety have found The Tribe to be a safe social outlet.

You can post in a group forum or you can chat live with group members in chat rooms. You’ll have access to a blog where you can share your story, speak your mind, inspire others, or just vent.

The site also offers a “wellness tree” where you can grow your own personal wellness by completing fun and inspiring activities and by helping others. Additionally, you can use the mood map to chart your moods. Over time, you can review your highs and lows and learn more about yourself.

The Tribe also offers support groups for depression, addiction, HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ, Marriage and Family, OCD, Teens, and Wellness.

The site boasts over 98,000 Tribe members. You may access their services via your desktop or mobile devices.

Most Active Anxiety Forum : Daily Strength


Daily Strength

 Daily Strength

Key Specs:

  • Cost: Free.
  • Therapy Modalities: Discussion forum.

Why We Chose It: Daily Strength lets users sign up and post anonymously in an anxiety group that has more than 20,000 members.

Pros
  • Lots of members

  • Members can create own forums

  • Can be totally anonymous

  • Therapist recommendations

  • Super active forum

Cons
  • Forums not monitored

  • Member behavior on honor code

Daily Strength offers a variety of support groups, including one specifically for anxiety. The anxiety forum is active every day and the site tells you how many members are currently online. It’s free to sign up and participate. And you can do so anonymously.

Members are even allowed to create their own community groups if they have a specific subtopic they’d like to address. It's worth noting that the forums are not moderated by anyone at Daily Strength. Instead, the site depends on members to report any instances of abuse. There are administrators who have the ability to ban members who are behaving inappropriately. There are some clear rules posted on their site—such as no asking for money and members must respect one another’s differing religious views. The site also offers a variety of resources for anyone who finds themselves in crisis.

Best for Joining Multiple Support Groups : SupportGroups.com


SupportGroups.com

SupportGroups.com

Key Specs: 

  • Cost:  Free.
  • Therapy Modalities: Discussion forum, private messages.

Why We Chose It:  Individuals, family and friends of people with mental illnesses can join as many support groups as they want with SupportGroups.com.

Pros
  • Support for individuals as well as family and friends

  • Join multiple groups

  • Public profile for interaction

  • Earn points for activity 

  • Several ways to interact with others on site

Cons
  • Not as anonymous

  • Very basic website

  • Feels a bit like a social media site

SupportGroups.com aims to bring people together through life challenges by providing concise, up-to-date information and a meeting place for individuals, friends, and family members who offer pathways to help.

Simply create a username and password and you’ll be ready to participate in the online forums. Forum posts may be text-only or you can also add a picture to your post.

Unlike some sites that only allow you to join one group, SupportGroups.com encourages you to join as many groups as you like. There are many other group topics, including things like back pain, ADHD, bullying, food allergies, self-esteem, video game addiction, and stress.

You’ll have a public profile that will allow other members to see the information you choose to share, such as a bio or the reason you joined a support group. Members will also be able to see your recent activity and when you were last active.

You can earn support points through your activity on the site. Uploading a profile picture, creating a post, replying to someone, and answering a poll are just a few ways you can earn points. Your point activity is made public in your bio.

You can reply to posts or press the heart icon on individual posts to show that you care. The heart button means you empathize with their posts. You may also send private messages to other members through the site.

You can also volunteer to support someone in need and you will be connected with someone who is interested in chatting.

Final Verdict

When you’re grappling with anxiety, and feel like no one really understands what you’re going through, an anxiety support group might be key to feeling less alone. Each one of these online support groups can give you that mental health community you’ve been looking for, but SMART Recovery simply offers the most comprehensive support in our opinion.

By offering groups and forums for people struggling with addiction, SMART Recovery targets a common anxiety symptom few other anxiety support groups do. And by focusing on teaching coping skills and behavior modifications, it’s not only a healthy, therapeutic outlet but a genuine step towards living a less addiction-driven life. Anxiety may always be with you, but support systems like this provide people and tools to help you cope with it more successfully.

FAQs

What Are Anxiety Support Groups?

Anxiety support groups are a way for individuals to come together and discuss their shared experiences with anxiety. Some groups are for specific types of anxiety, like social anxiety or PTSD. Others are open to people with any type of anxiety.

Members may meet in-person according to a specific schedule, like one time per week. Or, they may meet online in a forum where they can leave messages any time, day or night.

They might provide emotional support to one another, help each other problem-solve specific issues, or talk about treatment. They may also share resources with one another.

How Are Anxiety Support Groups Structured?

In-person groups usually have a facilitator who runs the group. Quite often the facilitator is a volunteer who also experiences anxiety. Some groups may have a mental health professional present.

Online groups tend to have a forum moderator (or several moderators). Moderators are usually volunteers who have personal experience or an invested interest in anxiety. Online groups are usually open to anyone who wants to join. Individuals can usually read and leave messages at any time of day or night. 

Some forums have rules that must be followed, such as no selling products or posting spam. Moderators may monitor the content and delete messages that violate the rules. Individuals who consistently break the rules may be banned from the group.

Is an Anxiety Support Group Right for Me?

If you’re looking for emotional support, or you’d welcome information from other people who understand anxiety, a support group might be right for you. 

Support groups are often a key component in a comprehensive treatment plan. Ask your physician or mental health provider if a support group might be a good addition to your treatment. Individual therapy, medication, or a combination of both may also be used to treat anxiety.

How Much Does It Cost to Join a Support Group?

Most support groups are free of charge. Some online groups may charge a small fee to maintain their websites. But the reasons for these fees are usually stated. 

Seek Help Now

If you are having a personal crisis and need to talk to someone immediately, visit our national helpline database.

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2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. "Substance Use Disorders."

  2. Bandelow B, Michaelis S, Wedekind D. Treatment of anxiety disordersDialogues Clin Neurosci. 2017;19(2):93-107. doi:10.31887/DCNS.2017.19.2/bbandelow