Everyone experiences times when things are hard, and we need support from others. The kind of support that works best may depend on individual preferences and the specific issues the person faces. Support can be a call from a friend, a hug from a child, or counseling from a professional. Recognizing when you need help is the first step to finding the right type of support. 


Signs You May Need More Support 

It can be challenging to know when you need support, especially if you have been focused on your basic needs and safety. When things are hard, you may notice changes in how you act, how you feel, and how you think. You may just not feel like yourself or notice your loved ones not acting like themselves. 


Signs that you or a family member may need more support can vary, but common changes include:  

  • Difficulty with sleep 
  • Feeling tired or fatigued 
  • Feeling sad or crying often 
  • Easily irritated or angry 
  • Losing interest in daily activities 
  • Isolating from others 
  • Using more alcohol or drugs 
  • Having thoughts that you want to die 


Every individual is different, and the changes they experience when life is difficult may be different. It can help to reflect on how your behavior, feelings, or thoughts change during hard times, so you can recognize when you need more support. Signs may be different for adults than for children or adolescents.  


Types of Support

People in Your Life – One of the first places to find support can be the people around you. This could be a trusted friend or family member with whom you can discuss difficult problems. This could also be someone who makes you laugh and feel good about yourself. Within the community, this can be supportive individuals such as teachers and faith leaders who provide guidance during difficult times. 


Professional Support — In the United States, professional support is available when you need more help. This support can be meeting with a counselor, attending a support group, or receiving medication from a doctor. It can be overwhelming to know where to start because there are many forms of support. One option is to talk to your primary care doctor or search for services in your area using https://findtreatment.gov/.  


Therapy or Counseling is where a trained professional meets with you to discuss specific issues or problems and supports you in coping with these issues. This often occurs in an office setting or through telehealth/remote platforms. There are many professionals that provide this type of support including Psychologists, Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Family and Marriage Therapists, and Licensed Professional Counselors.  


Support Groups are led by trained professionals and often focus on specific issues such as grief, depression, anxiety, substance use, or trauma. Support groups offer both guidance and support from other people coping with similar issues. You can find support groups in your area by searching online, for example, “Support Group” + “Grief.”  


Medication is provided by a professional who can prescribe, such as a Psychiatrist, Medical Doctor, or Nurse Practitioner. Medications may be recommended and prescribed to help reduce stress, improve mood, improve sleep, and support other symptom management. Individuals receiving medications often meet with their prescribing provider once a month to monitor progress. You can seek medication management services at your Primary Care clinic or with a Psychiatrist.  


Warmlines: When you need someone to talk to, you can contact a free warmline for support. Warmlines are confidential and free. They are staffed by either peers or trained professionals. To find a warmline in your state, you can use the warmline directory at https://warmline.org/warmdir.html. You can also search on the internet “warmline” + your local area. You can request translation services, however, not all warmlines offer these services. 


Emergency Support is available when you need immediate help, such as having suicidal thoughts, or if you have concerns for a family member. There are national hotlines you can use for mental health emergencies. The 988 Lifeline is free and available in all states, by calling or texting “988”. The 988 Lifeline provides translation services in more than 240 languages. Crisis hotlines are staffed by trained professionals who can send emergency responders such as mobile crisis teams and law enforcement to help. 


Everyone has times when they need support from others. If you are concerned about your well-being or the well-being of a family member, we encourage you to use one of the resources provided to learn more about the support available to you in your community.