It can be an unfortunate fact of life that no matter how hard we work to make sure that our kids grow up with a good self-esteem, positive role models, and lots of “quality” time with us, they will inevitably run into situations that are stressful and that we cannot help with. You may notice a change in their behavior or in school, but if you realize that perhaps they would benefit from talking to an unbiased person, the next concern could easily be about the cost.
Or perhaps you would like to be the one to do the talking. As single parents, we’re everything to everyone all the time. When do we get to just be us, and talk about our concerns, or what else we’re worrying about? In a counseling session, of-course. A therapy session, that if you’re not careful about, could easily stretch the budget to its breaking point. Fortunately, there are a ton of ways to get free or very inexpensive counseling sessions.
When You Need To Speak To Someone NOW
When you’ve just had the worst day ever, except perhaps every day lately has seemed like the worst day ever, you might need to speak with someone immediately. In that case, you might benefit from any of the following numbers.
1) 1-800-442-HOPE, This is a way to speak with someone about your current needs. They commonly speak with people suffering from overwhelming depression or anxiety, but can help with a lot of different issues.
2) 1-800-773-6667, For moms suffering from post-partum depression
3) 1-800-223-HELP, This is a suicide hotline. Please call if you are having any thoughts about hurting yourself in ANY way.
Additionally, if it is your teenager who needs immediate help, he or she might do well by contacting 1-877-YOUTHLINE, which will connect them with someone close to their own age. If your teen prefers a Christian based counseling session with a peer, they can call (714)NEW-HOPE. Please note that this number is not toll-free.
If You Need To Talk To Someone Soon, But it Doesn’t Have to Be Right Away
If you would prefer the anonymity of an email relationship, you could easily benefit from counseling through email. You can contact jo(at)samaritans.org, if you would prefer to establish a relationship with someone who is usually available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you don’t mind having to wait a few hours for a response, you could check out the following: http://newhopeonline.org/counseling/liveperson.html
Your Teenager could contact the same organizations that you can. There will not be any type of discrimination based on their age. However, if he or she is experiencing problems that are occurring because of concerns about their own sexual preferences, they could visit http://www.befrienders.org/ to find someone to talk with.
MHMR, which stands for Mental Health and Mental Retardation, provides both counseling services and necessary medication to needy people in some areas.
However, and unfortunately, it is not available with full services in all areas. You could simply call the closest location in your area, and they should be able to let you know if they can help you, as well as how long their waiting list (if any) is. Be warned, you may have to qualify for services through your income or severity of your symptoms. If so, you might be asked to submit verification of your income and bills, as well as your psychiatric and medical histories, among other things.
Pastoral care refers to a psychological care that is given in a religious environment, and with religious undertones. Many, if not all, churches offer counseling services for free, or for a very reasonable cost. Typically, you will not be able to get any type of medication, but in some cases, you can get counselings services at church, and the necessary medication from your primary physician. It is important to be able to coordinate your care with the appropriate medical professionals.
If you are not a member of a church currently, that is okay. Although it is pretty common for a church to know you prior to your first counseling services, it’s very rarely a pre-requisite. If you would like to look for a church that is close to you that will provide this unique form of religion based therapy, you can visit http://aapc.org/. They will also explain the program in more detail.
In addition to these options, 211 (as always) might be able to tell you resources that are only available in your area. In case you haven’t seen the website before, you can see it here: http://www.211.org/. If 211 is active in your area, you could also call them to speak to someone directly. The number is usually available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Support Groups Could Be The Help That You Need
Perhaps you, or your child, just need to talk to other people who are, or have, felt the same way that you do. It can be so easy to feel entirely alone, or like we are the only people who ever felt quite this sad, and it is vital to know that we are not. Whether you are recovering from anxiety, depression, an addictive disorder, or something else entirely, there’s probably a support group on your area for others with the same experience.
211 could help you find it, as could a church, or MHMR. Virtually every support group is free, and you or your child will enjoy the experience of not feeling alone. If your child is the one currently experiencing problems, you may be able to find a group for parents of kids with those symptoms. The reverse is also true. As a family, it often seems that when one person suffers, everyone else does as well. That means that sometimes the families need to heal together as well.
If you are considering the possibility of hurting yourself, please talk to someone. If you, or your child, are in imminent danger of doing so, please go to the nearest emergency room. For too long, mental health issues were ignored, and we all now know that there is nothing shameful about getting the help that you need.
You have a lot of resources available to you. Whether it is for you, or for your child, there is no need to suffer in silence. These types of issues cannot be expected to get better by itself, and you have to take the first step to healing.
The most important thing you can do for your children is to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. If you even have the smallest thought that your son or daughter is experiencing difficulties beyond that of a normally developing child, it is incredibly important to have your concern evaluated by a qualified person. It is almost important to know that children and adults in all walks of life experience a variety of mental health problems. It does not happen just because you are a single mom, often these things just happen.