Getting Help


If you had physical problems that weren’t getting any better, like stomach pains or headaches, you’d probably tell someone about it or visit a doctor. Emotional health is the same. If stress, anxiety, depression or other overwhelming feelings are interfering with your life and ability to get things done, speak up.

Friends and Family

It can be hard to talk about serious emotional issues with even close friends and family members. Yet opening up to someone you trust is a good first step to feeling better. Just talking about the feelings out loud can make them less frightening and overwhelming. While some students feel like others will look down on them for struggling emotionally, research shows that most friends and families are very understanding and supportive.

Trust Your Gut

Many of the symptoms of mental health conditions like depression are things everyone experiences from time to time. So how do you tell the difference between the manageable emotional challenges of life and other problems? If the problems you are experiencing become too severe, last too long or begin to interfere with your ability to function, it’s important to reach out for help. But if you have a feeling something is wrong, trust your gut and talk to someone about your concerns.

Mental Health Screening

You can also use a screening tool to help you dig deeper into your thoughts and feelings to find out what might be going on. The results can help you decide if you should reach out for help. The JED Foundation’s ULifeline offers an anonymous online screening that you can take for yourself or a friend. Many colleges also offer free, in person screenings at their health centers.

Counseling Center

Every year, millions of students visit their campus counseling center for help with everything from managing stress to depression to eating disorders. Most schools provide free counseling for a set number of visits. Making the initial phone call is often the hardest part, but students who delay visiting the counseling center report wishing they’d gone sooner for their first visit. Remember, your visit to the counseling center and what you talk about there are confidential, except only in very limited circumstances.

Off-Campus Help

If you are more comfortable, you can also reach out for help off-campus. Maybe you want to start the conversation with your family doctor or a general practitioner who can refer you to someone. You can also contact local mental health centers or use professional locators like the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator.

Get Help Now

If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text, call, or chat 988 for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7. 

You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.

If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.