fbpx

Free Resources for Anxiety and Depression: 5 Ways to Cope

Woman reading self-help book on anxiety and depression

With a little digging, you can find tons of free resources for anxiety and depression. I had a hard time picking only five to recommend, but think of these as a starting point.

I narrowed my choices by asking myself, “Has this been helpful to some of my therapy clients?” All of the following recommendations passed this test, in addition to being truly free. (Full disclosure: for things that offer optional paid plans, I don’t have affiliate links or anything.)

Also, I cheated a bit! Below you will find links to one in-person group support, two apps, two podcasts, four books, and a yoga routine. That’s ten things!

Group therapy for anxiety and depression

1. Group therapy for anxiety and depression: Peer Support Group through NAMI

Social support is powerful medicine. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, and they do so much. NAMI dedicates itself on many fronts to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

The NAMI Connection groups are structured, and they make sure that everyone in the group has a chance to be heard. Participation is confidential, and it is a non-judgmental space that does not prescribe any particular orientation or path to recovery. If you’re not sure about in-person groups, there are many local NAMI Facebook groups, as well.

In addition to the above-mentioned support group, NAMI offers a variety of free resources for depression and anxiety, and other mental health issues as well. Their website at nami.org is worth checking out.

Woman looking at her cell phone, seeking resources for anxiety and depression.

What’s Up? is a free app that uses CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy) strategies to help users cope with depression, anxiety, anger, stress and more.

There are in-app purchases available, but unlike many apps, What’s Up? has lots of free resources for anxiety and depression without a paid plan. For example, you can access breathing exercises, grounding exercises, affirmations, quotes and more without signing up to pay anything.

I have tried looking at some other mental health apps, like TalkLife and Youper, to see if I wanted to recommend them to my therapy clients. These apps are free to download, but it seemed like you can’t access any of the meaningful features without signing up for a paid plan. I don’t want to recommend something “free” that isn’t really free! Please comment if you have tried either of these and let me know what you think!

woman listening with headphones on her computer to free resources for anxiety and depression

Virtually all podcasts are free, I know, and there are plenty of mental health podcasts out there to inform you about anxiety and depression. I like Depresh Mode because it’s entertaining, and you can laugh while you don’t feel so alone in your struggles. Also, I appreciate its slant towards featuring creatives and artists.

The Depresh Mode Podcast with John Moe describes itself as “honest, humane conversations with top artists, entertainers, and experts about what it’s like to live with an interesting mind. No shame, no stigma, and more laughs than you might expect from a mental health podcast.” That’s a pretty good summary.

Library books are a great source for free resources for anxiety and depression

4. Your Local Library – suggested books for depression and anxiety

Warning: I’m going to talk like an old person now. Back in my day, the library was a lot of work. You had to schlep yourself to your nearest brick-and-mortar branch, and either browse the shelves or search through the card catalog for something specific.

If what you wanted was at another branch, making an inter-library loan request felt like an Official Deal. There was paperwork! And, it could take weeks for your request to arrive.  

There are lots of good books about depression and anxiety. I encourage you to explore beyond the mere four books I list below. I chose these books because a) I’ve read them and I find them to be legit, and b) I have recommended them to a wide variety of clients who have found them to be helpful.

Also, numbers 3 and 4 are both super practical workbooks from New Harbinger Publications, a source of self-help books that I trust.

I often recommend these books on depression and anxiety:

A word about self-help books: recovering from depression and anxiety is a lived experience. It requires you to face your feelings and process them, not just read about them and try to reason yourself back to health.

You can do this work with a therapist, a family member, or a good friend, and there is even a fair amount of work that you can do on your own. But you have to do it, not simply think about it and analyze it.

That said, I believe that books can be a very helpful part of doing the work.

Woman doing yoga for anxiety and depression

5. Yoga for Depression with Adriene (this will help with anxiety, too!)

In general, moving your body is helpful for anxiety and depression, and it doesn’t have to cost any money. Besides finding workouts on YouTube, you can always go for a walk or run, and benefit from the fresh air as well.

Conclusion

I hope these free resources for anxiety and depression are useful for you. There is a lot of information out there, and it can be overwhelming sometimes. Don’t worry about doing an exhaustive search. Find some things that make sense to you, and try them.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: