The 6 Best Online Support Groups For Depression In 2021 Psy Center


Need to talk to a peer or a trained depression professional? Support groups and online services can be there for you.

When You Have Depression You Often Need Support now. Depression does not respect regular office hours.

Annually, approximately 17.3 million American adults have at least one major episode of depression. If you are one of those people, you know it can be hard to get out of it.

Yet the Internet offers many ways to get the support you need, when you need it. To help you sort through the sheer number of options, we’ve narrowed it down to the top six online depression support groups.

To find the right services, we screened dozens of applicants, looking at the following:

  • Price. When you live with depression, cost shouldn’t be a barrier to management. That’s why we’ve done our best to find as many free options as possible.
  • Options. We sought to find groups that had more to offer than a generic type of depression support.
  • Reputation. We focused on groups that have been around for a while. This way you can rest assured that your community is not going anywhere.

Best overall

Inspiring Community Support Through Mental Health America (MHA)

Cost: free

As a 24/7 online chat that supports individuals, families, friends and caregivers, Mental Health America’s Inspire support community has over 2 million registered members.

With over 100 categories, members can find a group of people who can relate to their specific needs and challenges.

There are general groups for depression, grief and bereavement, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicide, to name a few. Additionally, you can consult more specific groups based on particular medical conditions, such as cancer and diabetes, and less common illnesses like scleroderma and myocarditis. In addition, families, caregivers, adolescents and young adults can join groups just for them.

Members can “friends” and send messages to other members and participate in discussion streams in their specific community. Each community has 24-hour moderators to ensure that comments remain kind and encouraging.

What we like

  • With so many groups available, you are very likely to find a group of people who may be directly related to your health issue or that of a loved one.
  • No matter what time of day, you don’t have to be alone. There is always someone available to chat.
  • Patient advocacy partners provide members with expert support related to specific conditions.

What to watch out for

  • Online support is by written communication. Depending on how fast you and others are typing, this can make conversations a bit slow.
  • While the community is moderate, keep in mind that the things users post may not always be medically verified. If you want to try something suggested in the community, it’s best to check with your treatment team first to make sure it’s safe for you.

Best repertoire

Central Support Groups

Cost: free

What started as a weekly support group in Los Angeles has grown into an online support site that has reached thousands of participants in over 120 countries.

While the original group format remains the same, there are now over 25 support group options based on a variety of conditions and gender or gender identity. When you click on a category, you are taken to a list of upcoming meetings, including date, time, cost, and sponsoring organization information.

Many of their groups are sponsored by national organizations, giving participants access to group leaders who are experts on the specific condition or problem causing depression.

What we like

  • There are many reasons why you may be suffering from depression. Here you can find a group that can relate to your particular situation.
  • There are groups reserved for women, LGBTQIA + people, and people of color.
  • All of the group leaders have completed a training program and are there to ensure that all participants in the conversation have a chance to be heard.

What to watch out for

  • Although some groups may be led by licensed professionals, there is no guarantee.
  • Video is required for meetings.

Ideal for chatting

7 cups

Cost: free for most services, $ 150 per month for therapy and online counseling (for ages 18 and over)

If you just need someone to listen, 7 Cups offers a combination of trained listeners and licensed therapists who can lend an ear. The idea behind 7 Cups is to give everyone the opportunity to be heard.

Listeners are people who have been trained and who volunteer their time to support anyone who is going through a difficult time. While it might not seem like a good idea at first, researchers say users find 7 Cups listeners just as useful as psychotherapy, and the support is more genuine.

The group also offers auditors advanced training and certifications, what auditors say increases their knowledge and confidence.

If you want to connect with a community for regular support, you can find forums and chat rooms that feature various communities based on age, state, etc. However, keep in mind that anyone can post on these forums, and the suggestions made may not be based on scientific evidence or medical recommendations. If you’re interested in something you’ve read on the forums, it’s best to discuss it with your treatment team.

What we like

  • You can connect with a 7 Cups auditor 24/7.
  • You can receive help in a variety of ways, including listeners, forums, discussion boards, and trained therapists.

What to watch out for

  • Being “heard” by a listener is done via chat, not over the phone.
  • Therapy by a therapist or professional counselor is only available for people over 18 years of age.

Ideal for individual assistance


Cost: between $ 60- $ 80 / week, billed every 4 weeks

Professional help must be affordable. At least that’s the theory behind BetterHelp, an online counseling platform that offers support from psychologists, marriage and family therapists, clinical social workers, and licensed professional counselors.

When you register on the platform, you will be put in touch with a therapist experienced in your specific situation or condition. This includes support for depression.

Studies have shown that BetterHelp and online therapy may be of benefit in reducing symptoms of depression, although more research is needed. Additionally, the scientists involved in the study had ties to BetterHelp, which may affect the results.

What we like

  • Finding a qualified professional to connect with can be difficult. BetterHelp has so many options, you’re bound to find someone you like.
  • You can communicate with your advisor by messaging, text chats, phone chats, and video chats.
  • Based on your response to their questions, getting matched with an advisor is pretty quick – anywhere from several hours to several days.

What to watch out for

  • BetterHelp is not available for minors.
  • BetterHelp does not provide support to people who are having thoughts of self-harm or who are in crisis.

Better peer-to-peer support

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Reconnection Support Group

Cost: free

Peer support has many benefits, according to researchers. By connecting with others who share your illness, you feel less alone, can learn proven coping strategies, and even remove some of the stigma surrounding depression.

This is where NAMI comes in. Following a structured model, NAMI groups are filled with people who have experienced the same symptoms of mental health. Plus, they’re run by people who’ve been in your shoes.

Their 90-minute meetings, mostly weekly, are confidential spaces where you can share your experiences and struggles without feeling judged. Plus, you’ll likely walk away with some helpful tips and solutions to whatever might be depressing you right now.

What we like

  • All groups follow a structured model which ensures that everyone in the session can share and receive support.
  • You will feel less alone knowing that many others have the same thoughts and feelings as you.
  • You have the opportunity to help others which, let’s face it, is a great feeling.

What to watch out for

  • The groups are not led by mental health professionals.
  • Groups are location-based, and if there isn’t one near you, you may need to create your own.

Ideal for postpartum depression

International postpartum support (PSI)

Cost: free

As one of the most common complications associated with childbirth, postpartum depression affects approximately 13% or about 1 in 8 women in the United States.

But the reality is, it’s not just mothers and those who give birth who can suffer from postpartum depression. It can affect various populations.

Fathers and partners may have difficulty adjusting or helping their partner. People who give birth can experience depression after placing their child for adoption, and adoptive parents can suffer from it as well. And parents in the NICU and those who lost their child during pregnancy or shortly after birth can also experience postpartum depression.

Postpartum Support International (PSI) has it all. They have support groups for each of these categories and more. In addition to weekly group meetings with members from around the world, PSI offers:

  • education and training for families and providers
  • telephone conversations with experts
  • resources in English, Spanish, French, German and Hebrew

What we like

  • This group walks the march. In addition to support, they advocate for research and legislation surrounding perinatal mental health.
  • They also offer telephone (English and Spanish) and SMS (English and Spanish) hotlines.
  • Various tools and resources are available.

What to watch out for

  • Meeting times are listed in Pacific Time, so be aware of what you choose and put in your calendar.

About Author

Leave A Reply