Mental Health Tools and Resources
Having a chronic illness can be associated with having higher rates of depression and anxiety, and lower quality of life. In addition, the adjustment period to a chronic illness can naturally take a toll on your mental and emotional health! During these times, there are many resources to seek out that may help with your mental and emotional health, from reducing symptoms, to building coping strategies and resilience.
One way to get connected to mental health resources is to speak with your physician or a member of your Care Team. If you are receiving care through any sort of multidisciplinary platform, clinic, or practice, there may be mental health resources easily and readily available for you. Having an embedded mental health provider who can work with your other providers can help with providing you the best integrated care. Many clinics have social workers, mental health counselors, psychologists, or psychiatrists who specialize in the mental and emotional health of people with chronic illnesses and are a part of the care team!
If there are not readily available resources where you receive your IBD care, a member of your Care Team or a current provider may have a referral for you to work with a community mental health provider. Community mental health providers may also be social workers, mental health counselors, psychologists, or psychiatrist.
If you are not able to obtain a referral, some of the websites below may help you in finding a mental health provider on your own:
- The ROME foundation has a provider directory for mental health providers that specialize in GastroPsych, or the psychology of people living with gastrointestinal conditions. This location-specific search tool may help you find a provider near you!
- The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, or ABCT, also has a provider directory. People who are members of ABCT typically specialize in evidence-based practices (like CBT, DBT, or ACT) which have been shown through research to help with psychological symptoms. You can narrow your search to include whatever symptoms you’re experiencing, or to include “health conditions” if you want to see only providers with stated experience in mental health for people with chronic illnesses.
National Institute of Mental Health
- This page offers crisis resources as well as multiple tools to help you find a provider that may work well for you and your needs.
- Many therapists have a listing in Psychology Today. Here you can find therapists with a variety of trainings and therapeutic orientations and techniques. These therapists may not have as much specialization than those above (as those above may have specific expertise in chronic illness), but feel free to ask about their experience and expertise when you reach out when you reach out!
It’s important to make sure you are looking for reliable, accurate resources when you do internet research! Notice we said “when,” and not “if” – it can be really common, and extremely understandable, to want to Google your symptoms, your questions, and/or your experiences. So, when you do so, make sure you’re finding and using accurate websites. Some easy ways to verify this is to see how your webpage ends. Reliable webpages tend to end with:
Places to Start…
If you want to learn some general coping strategies on your own, feel free to give some of these websites a try.
Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation: Mental and Emotional Wellbeing
- This page has mental health resources, coping strategies, and tips for navigating daily life with IBD, among other great links.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
- NAMI is an excellent resource to learn more about a variety of mental illnesses. They have a video library explaining many topics on mental and emotional health, as well as ways to help find support groups and resource guides to go through.
- This page includes many resources on coping with stress in general, including resources for coping with stress exacerbated or caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
- This page has some general tips for managing anxiety and stress!
There are many ways for you to obtain mental and emotional health support! And, we know caring for mental health can be just as important as (and can interact with) your physical health! Don’t hesitate to reach out to members of your Care Team to learn more about what may be available.