Mental Health Resources: Help for When You Need It

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Our mental health is key to living a fulfilling and productive life. These mental health resources offer a place to go for support in nearly every aspect of life.

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Mental health consists of maintaining emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It influences our ability to make healthy decisions and maintain relationships. 

Mental health disorders and conditions can impact populations such as women, veterans, or minorities differently, so population-specific resources and programs can help provide the targeted assistance you need.

This guide is aimed at helping you receive the help that you may need. If you find the resources helpful, bookmark this page in case you need it in the future.

Is this an emergency? 

Do you have thoughts about harming yourself, another person, or group? This is considered a mental health emergency. Consider contacting local emergency services or dial 911 for immediate emergency assistance.


US Hotlines to call for free help

For free assistance on a specific emergency, these hotlines are available for you 24/7 in the United States.

Suicide prevention: 988 is the new three-digit dialing code (as of July 2022) that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Now called the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, people who call, text, or chat 988 will be connected with a trained counselor who will listen and provide further support. 

Substance abuse: SAMHSA’s National Helpline is 1-800-633-HELP (4357), providing those facing mental or substance use disorders with referrals to local treatment facilities, community-based organizations, and support groups.

Sexual violence or assault: If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline is available by phone at 1-800-656-HOPE(4673) or by live chat at

Domestic violence: Call the hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), text “START” to 88788, or go to to live chat.

Veterans crisis: Call 988 and then press 1, or text 838255.

Signs of potential mental health problems

Left unaddressed, symptoms of mental health problems can build up and grow worse. If you exhibit any of the following, you might want to seek help from a mental health professional.

  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or others

  • Feeling sad or down for extended periods of time

  • Excessive fears or worries that may lead to panicking

  • Withdrawal from friends, community, or other social activities

  • Confusion or unexpected memory loss

  • Significant tiredness or trouble sleeping

  • Addiction to alcohol or drugs

  • Major changes in eating habits, weight gain, or sex drive

  • Excessive anger or violence

  • Inability to concentrate that leads to poor school or work performance 

Key factors to remember here is that duration matters. For example, one bad night of sleep does not indicate mental health problems, but a prolonged period of insomnia can be influenced by anxiety or depression.

Signs of positive mental health

It can be just as helpful to identify specific signs that reflect optimal mental health. Here is what it could look like if your social and emotional well-being are in tip-top shape.

  • You are able to realize your full potential, in your career or personal life

  • You can (more often than not) cope with life stresses or unexpected events

  • You can work or study productively

  • You contribute in meaningful ways to your community

The science behind mental health

Coursera offers free courses that delve into what comprises positive mental health mindset and habits, including the science behind it and social factors that promote mental health.

1. If you want to know the science behind what most people are afraid of or what our dreams mean, then consider taking Introduction to Psychology from Yale University.

2. Consider The Social Context of Mental Health and Illness if you’re interested in how our understanding of mental health is influenced by social attitudes in America.

3. If you want to build productive habits and increase your happiness, then take the popular class The Science of Well-Being from Yale University.


Types of mental health disorders

Mental illnesses can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, geography, income, social status, race/ethnicity, religion/spirituality, sexual orientation, or any other aspect of cultural identity [1]. Here’s a list of different types of mental health disorders:

Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US, affecting 40 million adults (19.1 percent of the population) every year [2]. For people experiencing anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), these resources might be useful.

*These tests are meant to be a quick snapshot to provide insight into your current mental health condition. Consult a mental health professional if you suspect you have a mental health disorder, rather than relying on an online tool to self-diagnose.

Autism or Asperger Syndrome

If you suspect you or your child might have autism or Asperger syndrome, the following resource could be helpful.

  • Autism Speaks: Find information, resources, and a screening questionnaire.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders affect at least 9 percent of the population worldwide [3]. Approximately 28.8 million Americans (9 percent of the population) will have an eating disorder in their lifetime [4]. Here are some resources for guidance.

Psychosis and Psychotic Disorders

For information about psychotic disorders like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, take a look at these resources.

Substance Abuse

If you or someone you know is suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, these resources may provide the help you need.

Types of mental health providers

Seeking help from a mental health professional can be a big decision. Admitting you might have a health need, though, is the first step to treatment that can increase your quality of life. These are a few types of mental health providers to get you started.

  • Nurse psychotherapist: A nurse practitioner (more specifically, a nurse psychotherapist) has an advanced nursing degree and can use a combination of medications and counseling to treat patients. They diagnose and treat psychiatric disorders, and address other health conditions that may affect your mental health.

  • Psychiatrist: A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who evaluates, diagnoses, and treats mental health disorders such as addiction, depression, and personality disorders. Psychiatrists are qualified to prescribe medicine and can direct you to a therapist or other mental health professional for counseling.

  • Social worker: A clinical social worker is a therapist who holds a master’s degree in social work. They are typically trained to provide counseling to individuals or groups, often working in hospitals, clinics, or schools. Social workers cannot prescribe medicine.

  • Therapist: A therapist is a licensed mental health professional who provides individual or group counseling on a variety of mental health issues. They may hold a master’s in psychology, social work, or counseling. 

Resources by population

Mental health needs, and the treatments to cure them, may vary by population. For example, a gay teen struggling with bullies in school is different from a war veteran dealing with PTSD. These resources can suit your specific needs.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT)

LGBT adults are more than twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience a mental health condition, while transgender adults are nearly four times as likely [5].

  • LGBT National Help Center: Find free peer support, including several different hotlines for adults, youths, and seniors, live chat, chatrooms, and more.

  • The Trevor Project: From the creators of the Oscar-winning short film “Trevor,” this organization provides suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LGBTQ youth.

Coursera offers two free courses that might be useful:

Military and Veterans

In addition to the PTSD resource listed above under Anxiety and Depression, this resource can help military and returned veterans.

  • Mindwise Innovations: Take a brief screening to determine if you or a loved one should connect with a mental health professional.


In the US, it is estimated that 57 percent of the population with any mental illness does not receive treatment [6]. This number increases for racial and ethnic minority populations: 73 percent of Asians and Pacific Islanders, 69 percent of African Americans, and 67 percent of Hispanics do not receive mental health treatment [6]. 

Senior Citizens

Elderly adults are less likely to have access to mental health treatment for a variety of reasons, including stigma and the belief that depression and anxiety are part of aging. If you’re a senior struggling with mental health, this resource can help.

  • National Council on Aging: This site provides programs, tools, and information for seniors to cope with anxiety, depression, and addiction.

Special occupations

Coursera offers these two courses on mental health especially for healthcare workers and police, both offered by the University of Toronto.

Teens and youth

For adolescents aged 12-17 years, depression is an important concern in addition to substance abuse and suicide. In 2018-19, 15.1 percent had a major depressive episode while 36.7 percent had persistent sadness or hopelessness [8]. If you or your teen is experiencing depression, addiction, or other mental health condition, help is available.

  • Office of Population Affairs: This site curates resources specifically for adolescents.

  • The Jed Foundation: Information on common emotional health issues and supports teens and young adults with a resource center and hotline.

  • ULifeline: Mental health information and support for university students.

Yale University’s free course Managing Emotions in Times of Uncertainty and Stress is designed for school staff, including teachers, counselors, and principals of pre K-12 schools, to understand and manage their emotions and those of their students.


According to the Office on Women’s Health, more than one out of five women in the US experienced a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety in the past year [7]. These female-focused resources can help you get the help you need.

Strategies for improving your mental health

In today’s world, mental illness and distress are increasingly common. Developing strategies to enhance your everyday mental health—such as exercise, relaxation techniques, and creative productivity methods—can make a world of difference. Start building a more resilient mind today with the free Positive Psychiatry course from the University of Sydney.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Links or references to any third-party resources or content provided here do not constitute an endorsement and do not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided by these third parties. Coursera does not control the third-party websites linked to herein; use of such websites is governed by the privacy policies and other terms and conditions published by such websites.

Article sources


American Psychiatric Association. “What is Mental Illness?,” Accessed October 20, 2022.

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