The easiest way to access free therapy in the UK is through the NHS, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a quick way. You can go private to have quicker access however the only drawback about going private is that you have to pay.
Apart from the NHS we found another organisation called The Mix who offer free counselling to people under 25.
We have developed a long list of emotional support lines or helplines, known as ‘listening services.’ They aren’t exactly counselling services, but you can talk to them about anything. Don’t forget sharing your problems can be helpful to manage your feelings. Behind these free forms of therapy are a team of trained volunteers, many with a counselling background. They will support you, give you advice and self-help tools you may find useful in your life.
Free Therapy in the UK:
You can access free therapy on the NHS. A GP can refer you, or you can refer yourself directly to an NHS psychological therapies service such as the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme (IAPT) without a referral from a GP. Once you contact this service, you’ll be contacted within a few weeks to do an assessment to understand what you are struggling with. After the assessment they will recommend a therapy they believe will work for you. Waiting times to get the first session usually vary between 2 to 5 months, and you’ll be offered 1 session of 60 minutes a week, during 6 to 12 weeks, making it a total of 6 to 12 sessions.
The Mix offers free therapy or counselling services for people under 25, you’ll be offered up to 8 free therapy sessions of 50 minutes each. To access this service, you have to fill a form with different questions to determine the type of support you need.
They also have a helpline and a chat service available every day from 3pm to 12am. If these times are not suitable you can contact their email support anytime, you’ll get an answer of a trained supporter within 24 hours.
Free Helplines in the UK:
The charity Mind offers mental health support through their helpline, which is similar to free therapy. You can access this service through their website, clicking on ‘Get help now’ and following to ‘contact our helplines’. To access the Helpline, you need to first contact them by email or call their Infoline. They can be contacted 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except bank holidays).
They also have different lines for those who speak a different language than English or have hearing or speech issues.
The calls are completely free for those who have a contract with free calls to landlines included.
Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123. (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
Can be contacted by telephone, letter, e-mail and mini-com. There's also a face-to-face service, available at their local branches. They are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
They offer supportive listening to anyone in the UK with thoughts of suicide or thoughts of self-harm. They are open 24/7 and everyone aged 18 or over can access the free helpline.
Their helpline is open between 4.30pm and 10.30pm every day of the year and anyone aged 16 or over can access. Their lines are usually busy so keep in mind a waiting time, they recommend calling on the weekend since it might be easier to get through.
SANEline provides a free helpline with non-judgemental volunteers who’ll give you space to talk about your mental health or someone else’s.
They also provide a free text-based support service called Textcare and an online supportive forum community, where anyone can share their experiences of mental health issues.
Support Line provide a confidential free telephone helpline offering emotional support and tools to improve your mental health coping strategies. Their opening hours vary so you need to call or email them for details.
Offers free mental health support and advice to people under 35 who are having suicidal thoughts. They also offer advice and support to people who are worried about someone under 35. Their free helpline is called HOPELINEUK and is open every day 9am – 12am (midnight).
C.A.L.M. (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
Their free helpline is for people in the UK who need to talk or find information and support. Their helpline is open every day between 5pm and midnight. They also have a WebChat open at the same hours as the Helpline.
This free helpline is the only one focused on providing support to people over 55. Their helpline is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Aimed at anyone affected by a mood disorder, including friends, families, and carers. Their helpline is open 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday, staffed by volunteers who can provide you with information, advice, and support.