Online helpAs you are consulting this information and resources website, you may feel comfortable accessing other forms of internet-based help. Always check the integrity of the sites you are using and preferably follow links from known professional bodies or charities.
Some university counselling services offer online counselling. Look at the page on what counsellors offer for details of what counselling is. Some people like the anonymity and flexibility of online counselling, but others miss the personal contact. Online counselling can be offered in the form of email counselling or as an online chat session. It is currently more common for university or college counselling services to offer email counselling rather than chat sessions.
Email counselling is a modified form of face-to-face counselling which has the benefit that you can write to the counsellor in your own time. Email counselling offers many of the benefits of ‘Therapeutic Writing’, with the opportunity to reflect on your thoughts and feelings in your own time and not just within a set appointment time.
Get Connected, the Samaritans and Kooth (available free to young people in some local authorities) offer a variety of online counselling and support options. See the ‘Other resources’ page for details and links. Always check that the credentials of an online chat service and ensure that it is professionally staffed with trained supporters.
There are now several worthwhile free options for doing interactive cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) online. Computerised CBT is endorsed by the NHS guidelines as a helpful treatment for mild depression, within a stepped care programme.
MoodGYM is one of the original online CBT programmes and offers a good starting point in practising the basics of challenging depressed thinking and learning CBT principles. Living Life to the Full is a well-supported and extensive UK-based interactive self-help site.
Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be very therapeutic. An online diary (‘blog’) can be kept anonymously and offers some interactivity in addition to the opportunity to ‘let off steam’. Although readers of your blog can be a great source of support and advice, you may also receive hurtful and unhelpful comments so will need to be prepared to ignore these.
In general, forums and message boards can be a great source of help and community, as long as you are prepared to ignore the possible unhelpful or nasty comments as well. Do make sure that you join a community which is focused on positive and constructive support.