Our mentors and page authors are not necessarily psychologists or therapists. Even when they are, this page is not medical or psychological advice and they are not creating a doctor/therapist-client relationship. You should consult a professional if possible and they can tell you whether this advice applies to your situation. If this is an emergency, you should call your national emergency number, like 911, or a mental health hotline, like 1-800-950-6264.
If you are suffering from mental health issues and want to get better, congratulations! Admitting that you need help and seeking it is often the hardest step.
This self-help toolkit is designed to help you work through problems on your own, but our mentors are also always here to help guide you. Not everyone can afford a therapist or find a good one and we hope that these tips are a good start to helping you!
We recommend you start with diagnosing yourself, so you have some sense of the types of problems you’re dealing with. There are a lot of pages in this toolkit, but we recommend you at least skim all of them. You can choose which strategies you like and try them one at a time, giving yourself time and patience.
- CBT is about fixing negative patterns of mind by retraining your brain.
- Positive psychology is about increasing positive patterns of mind.
- Meditation and mindfulness is about improving your focus and ability to retrain your brain.
You can also read the relevant pages on our website that deal with your specific issues and emphasize depression/anxiety/etc.-specific tips.
Note that for personality disorder conditions like bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, meditation is one of your best bets with where to start before moving on to CBT.
For schizophrenia and other reality-bending disorders, we don’t recommend using techniques that involve speaking to yourself as a friend or splitting your personality further. For you, CBT should focus on learning what your triggers are and reducing them/responding to them before episodes happen.
If you think you need medication, please contact your doctor or psychologist. We highly recommend you try some of these techniques first.
For all these strategies, monitoring success is key. If it’s not working for you, try something else.
Pick one tool for a week or two that you think might work for you and then try it! Start with writing down your ABCD thoughts and maybe move to a 7-Column thought record. Maybe try mindfulness or exercise. The main thing is to only try one or two things, so it sticks. Record your feelings and thoughts as they change from week to week so you can see what works and then continue doing those exercises.
Never give up. There will be days when you are too depressed to fill out a gratitude journal or even track your thoughts. There will be days when you are too busy to exercise or too stressed to meditate. That’s okay. You’re just doing your best every day. Don’t be harsh on yourself.
And reach out to us if you need help! We’re here for you.
Self-Help Toolkit for Mental Health
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
A more complex way to analyze and change your thoughts, emotions, and actions.
A list of the most common problematic thinking patterns and how to challenge them.
Here’s how it relates to your mental health and how you can work with and challenge your assumptions about the world.
Coming soon. Meditation is an effective way of coping with mental illness and can help even for some illnesses (like borderline personality disorder) that are not easily treated with CBT.
Yoga is a specific type of exercise that combines with mindfulness and aims at helping people link their mind and body. Our page on yoga has amazing tips to help you get started.