In this article, we will discuss what are some free text-counselling services that are available to you worldwide.
We will also discuss what text-counselling services are and their efficacy and also, how safe they are.
What are some free text-counselling services?
A few text-counselling services that provide free counselling services and crisis hotlines worldwide and in various parts of the world include:
- The Samaritans
- Childline SA
- South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG)
- Beyond Blue
- MensLine Australia
What are Text-counselling services?
Text counselling services is a form of Tele-Mental health counselling or E-counselling Services that provide mental health support and counselling sessions via the medium of text-chats or emails.
Text-counselling or text therapy as it is also known as involves the process of messaging your therapist anytime in a secure chat window and they respond once or twice a day- depending on the agreement that you make with them.
In text counselling- you can either chat with them in real time by setting up a scheduled appointment or even correspond via email based on what you and your therapist agree on- usually they have a time frame around 36 hours for them to respond to the emails.
It is to be mentioned that the experience of text therapy is not seamless nor does it have enough studies done on it’s efficacy to deem it an effective form of therapy. There is an obvious lag in communication along with lack of visual and vocal cues that might make talk therapy challenging.
Various research done on the efficacy of talk therapy are often whitepaper studies by various companies that propagate their services and any other objective studies done does not have ample study sizes to generalize the results.
However, in spite of these gaps in research, there is no evidence that disregards the use of this form of therapy as an effective method towards developing healthier mental health status.
What are the benefits of text therapy?
Here are some benefits or pros for the case of talk therapy:
- Autonomy is ensured as the platforms used are often secure, you do not have to show your face, and other than your payment details, you can ensure that an ethical practitioner will protect your privacy.
- You might feel more at ease, might feel calmer since you can do it in the comfort of your own home and there is no stress of having to meet them face to face.
- It’s fairly inexpensive compared to traditional face to face in person therapist, some platforms also provide you with discounts and promotions that can make it more affordable.
- It can help you manage temporary or minor distress and help you sort out emotional turmoil while also helping you develop strategies to cope and steps to take to manage your own mental well-being.
- Because this form of therapy is remote, It can help you access support that is otherwise not available to you in your immediate vicinity.
What are the risks of Text Therapy?
In spite of its benefits, text counselling or therapy does have it cons and challenges such as:
- There is a lack of professional relationship building and the constant access can make it difficult to draw healthy boundaries between you and the therapist or the therapist and the client.
- Not all platforms are completely secure meaning that your details may be at risk of being leaked, So it is important to choose apps and sites that are in compliance with HIPAA and also include protection of identity verification.
- Sometimes these platforms may not have licensed practitioners.It becomes extremely crucial that you verify the credentials of your therapist and their qualifications.
- The delay of the messages can make it feel frustrating and cause distress. This is why text therapy or email therapy is not recommended for crisis interventions.
- Text messages can’t convey tone or body language which can cause a huge disruption in communication of emotions behind one’s words.
Are text counselling service safe?
Yes, the free text counselling service is safe and also confidential.
Free text counselling services are usually provided by non-governmental organizations, which aim to provide help and support to those going through an emergency situation and do not have the opportunity at this time to contact a mental health professional or do not know how to react in a time of crisis.
What are some free text-counselling services?
Here is a list of some text-counselling services that may also provide free services:
South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG)
- Mind helpline – Mind helpline is a mental health charity that offers two confidential mental health information services, the Mind Infoline and the Legal Line. You can text Mind helpline at 86463 to ask for advice regarding mental health problems, where to find further help and what treatment options are out there.
- The Samaritans – If you are living in the UK or Ireland you can contact a samaritan and talk about what bothers you most. Your phone call will be completely anonymous and you will speak with a trained volunteer that will not judge you or tell you what to do. You either call Samaritans at 116 123 or send them an email at [email protected]
- At YourDost you can either choose to chat now or make an appointment with a mental health professional at a more convenient time. This service includes 24/7 round the clock support, no matter where you are in the world.
- iCALL – is a telephone and email-based counselling service run by School of Human Ecology, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). It offers free telephone and email-based counselling services, to individuals in emotional and psychological distress, across age, language, gender, sexual orientation and issues, through a team of qualified and trained mental health professionals. You can call them at 022-25521111 or send an email to [email protected]
- YouthLine – lets you chat free with a counsellor online from 7 pm to 10 pm. This is a service available for any young person in New Zealand, or anyone who is supporting a young person. Free call 0800 376 633 | Free text 234
- EDANZ – specialized in eating disorders issues. Freephone 0800 2 EDANZ or 0800 233 269, or in Auckland 09 522 2679. Or email [email protected]
- Childline SA – this is a non-profit organization that has a purpose to protect children from South Africa from all forms of violence. On their website, you can find free ways of contacting them in order to get help ASAP. You may call Childline SA 24X7 on 08 000 55 555
- South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) – The SADAG offers support for depression, bipolar, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, trauma, substance abuse and other issues you may be facing. SADAG Mental Health Line: 011 234 4837
- Beyond Blue – Call 1300 22 4636; free support and tips for managing anxiety, depression, stress, and other mental health issues.
- MensLine Australia – offers online and phone counselling to help men manage their mental health issues and worries regarding relationships, being a dad or dealing with depression or substance abuse. Call 1300 78 99 78
- BetterHelp – is the largest online counselling platform that can be accessed worldwide. BetterHelp makes professional counselling available anytime, anywhere, through a computer, tablet or smartphone.
- TalkSpace – is yet another platform for online counselling that lets you connect with a licensed therapist, no matter where in the world you are. Talkspace online therapy is typically 80% less expensive than face-to-face therapy and there are several payment options to choose from.
- HeadFirst – Redirects you to online chat rooms such as LifeLine, Depression hotline, Anxiety hotline, YouthLine, The Lowdown, or Auntie Dee. This is a great website if you don’t know where exactly to look for free online or telephone counselling services.
In this blog post, we have discussed various online chat services that provide counselling sessions worldwide. We also discussed what text counselling is and how effective and safe they are.
Palus. S. What Is Text Therapy, and Does It Work? Wirecutter. 7th May 2018. Retrieved on 23rd Nov. 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/blog/text-therapy/
Raypole.C. What’s the Deal with Text Therapy? Healthline. 22nd May 2020. Retrieved on 23rd November 2021. https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/text-therapy
FAQ about free text counselling
Can I talk to a counsellor online for free?
Yes, you can talk to a counsellor online for free as there are many services that provide free counselling services. You can also contact various therapists are ask them of the probono policies as well as their sliding scale payment options.
Is Online Therapy Effective?
Online Therapy can be as effective as traditional face to face therapy sessions. Research indicates that therapies like CBT are effective over the phone as well as face-to-face.
It is highly dependent on the openness of the client to engage in online therapy as well as the therapist being trained in technology assisted counselling.
Can you get Counselling for free?
Yes, you can get free counselling for a range of issues such as anxiety, depression, anger management, couples therapy. However, whether you will have to pay for the sessions or get sessions for free depends on the practicing therapist and whether they work probono.
Why is therapy so expensive?
Therapy is expensive because therapists have to go through years of training before they can actually work and attain their licence. The therapists also have to pay for utilities, rent, and various tools used for assessments.