I Need Help: What to Do If You Feel This Way

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If you are dealing with emotionally taxing challenges in your life, it can be difficult at times to know where to turn. When you’ve reached the point where you say to yourself, “I need help,” finding someone to share your troubles and find real solutions is essential.

This article explores some of the steps you can take if you feel like you need help. It covers why you might need help, where you can find help, and some strategies you can use to help yourself feel better.

Reasons You Might Need Help

There are many different reasons why you might need someone to help you. Every person faces unique challenges, and many different factors—ranging from your personality to your support system—can play a part in determining the type of help that you need.

Many situations may lead you to reach out for help. Some of these include:

  • Mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or addiction
  • Difficult life events, such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, or losing your job
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Trouble coping with stress
  • Feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, or helpless
  • Experiencing abuse or violence
  • Stress or bullying in the workplace
  • Significant life changes such as moving to a new place
  • Feeling lonely, isolated or rejected
  • Chronic health conditions

If you are experiencing any of the above issues, it’s essential to reach out for help. There is no shame in admitting that you need assistance as it takes a great deal of courage. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away; in many cases, doing so will only worsen the situation.

Unfortunately, many people who need help don't get the assistance that they need. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 52.9 million adults in the U.S. have some type of mental illness, but only 24.3 million, or less than half, receive mental health services for their condition.

What Type of Help Do You Need?

It can also be helpful to think about the kind of support you need in a situation. Sometimes, help might focus on offering emotional support. In other cases, you might need practical support to manage different aspects of your daily life.

Types of support that you might look for include:

  • Emotional support: This type of help can come from friends, family members, or therapists. It involves talking about your feelings and experiences to gain a better understanding of them.
  • Practical support: This type of help can involve assistance with day-to-day tasks, such as child care, cooking, or transportation. It can also include help with financial matters or housing.
  • Informational support: This type of help entails receiving information about available resources, such as support groups or counseling services. It can also involve learning more about a particular issue that you’re struggling with.

Once you’ve determined the type of help you need, you can start looking for resources that can provide it. In some cases, you may find that you need multiple kinds of support, which may require more than one solution.

Reaching out for help is an essential first step in managing difficulties in your life. With the right kind of support, you can begin to find solutions and make positive changes.

How to Find Help

If you need help, there are many different resources that you can turn to. The first step is to reach out to your friends and family. Let them know what’s going on and how they can assist you. If you don’t feel comfortable confiding in those closest to you, consider talking to a clergy member, counselor, or therapist.

Here are some places to start:

Talk to Your Healthcare Provider

If you’re feeling physically ill or notice significant changes in your mood or behavior, your first step should always be to consult a medical professional. They can help rule out any potential underlying health issues and provide guidance on steps to take next.

Connect With a Therapist

A therapist, counselor, or another mental health professional can provide emotional support and guidance as you work through your challenges.

Therapy can provide an objective sounding board as well as tools and techniques for dealing with life’s difficulties. A therapist can help you work through past traumas, process current stressors, and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Reach Out to a Support Group

Attending a support group can provide you with emotional and practical support from others dealing with similar issues.

If you’re struggling with addiction, grief, or another problem, there are often others who have been through similar experiences. Connecting with a supportive group can provide much-needed validation, understanding, and advice.

Talk to a Friend or Family Member

Sometimes, all you need is someone to talk to who will listen. If you’re feeling down, reach out to a trusted loved one for a heart-to-heart conversation.

Loved ones can also be a great source of referrals if you are still interested in talking to a doctor or therapist.

Call a Helpline

Calling a hotline can give you access to someone who can provide immediate assistance in a crisis. When you need someone to talk to outside of your personal circle, many national helplines are available 24/7 that can help. These organizations can provide you with information about local resources in your area.

Helplines

  • Suicide: If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
  • Substance Use/Addiction: If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
  • Mental Health Conditions/General Mental Health (Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, etc): If you or a loved one are struggling with a mental health condition contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
  • Child Abuse: If you are a victim of child abuse or know someone who might be, call or text the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 to speak with a professional crisis counselor.
  • Domestic Violence: If you or a loved one are a victim of domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential assistance from trained advocates.
  • Disaster Distress: If you are experience stress, anxiety, or other symptoms as a result of a natural or man-made disaster, contact SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 for crisis counseling.
  • Eating Disorders: If you or a loved one are coping with an eating disorder, contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Helpline for support at 1-800-931-2237
  • Sexual Assault: If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you can contact the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 to receive confidential support from a trained staff member at a local RAINN affiliate.
  • LGBT: If you are seeking support for issues with coming out, relationships, bullying, self-harm, and more, contact the LGBT National Hotline at 1-888-843-4564 for one-to-one peer support.
  • LGBTQ Youths in Crisis: If you are a young person in crisis, you can contact The Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 for support. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
  • Runaways: If you are a runaway or homeless young person, you can contact the National Runaway Safeline at 1-800-786-2929 for judgment-free support.
  • Veterans & Service Members: If you or a loved one are a Veteran or Service member in crisis, you can call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 to speak with a specially-trained VA responder. If there is immediate danger, call 911.

Try Online Resources

Many online resources are available that can provide information and support. For example, there may be websites that provide information and education about the specific problem you are facing. There are also several mental health apps that can be useful for finding support and self-help.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

Tips for Coping When You Need Help

In addition to reaching out to others for help, there are also steps you can take to help and care for yourself.  It’s important to be patient with yourself as you work through difficult times. Make sure to give yourself time to rest and recover.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Take care of your physical health: When you’re under stress, it’s more important than ever to take care of your physical health. Be sure to eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep. These simple steps can help improve your mood and energy levels.
  • Avoid using alcohol or drugs: It’s tempting to self-medicate when you’re feeling down, but alcohol and drugs will only make your problems worse in the long run. If you’re struggling with addiction, seek professional help.
  • Seek out positive influences: Spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself and help you see the bright side of life. These positive influences can provide much-needed support during tough times.
  • Do something that makes you happy: Make time for activities that bring joy into your life. Whether it’s reading, listening to music, spending time in nature, or something else entirely, do what makes you feel good.
  • Practice gratitude: When you’re feeling low, it can be helpful to remind yourself of the good in your life. Expressing gratitude can help you refocus on the positive and find strength during challenging times. It can also help combat feelings of anxiety and depression.
  • Be kind to yourself: It’s important to be gentle with yourself when you’re going through a tough time. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions you’re experiencing, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you need to take things one day at a time.
  • Avoid negative self-talk: Be mindful of the things you say to yourself. Avoid putting yourself down and try to focus on positive thoughts and self-affirmations.
  • Work on accepting emotions: Practicing emotional acceptance can have a positive impact on your mental well-being. Don’t try to fight your emotions or push them away. Instead, allow yourself to experience them fully and work on letting them go when you’re ready.

Acknowledging that you need help is a sign of strength, not weakness. If you’re struggling, know that you are not alone and there is help available. These tips can get you started on the path to recovery and healing.

A Word From Verywell

If you need help, there are a number of different places that you can turn. Depending on the nature of your problem and the type of support you need, certain resources will be more helpful than others. 

Some people prefer to seek out help from friends or family members, while others prefer to talk to a therapist or counselor. There is no “right” way to get help. Ultimately, the most important thing is finding a resource that feels comfortable for you and confident about.

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