America — and Philadelphia — is facing a mental health crisis. You’ve heard the statistics. Youth depression, opioid addiction, suicidal ideation are on the rise, as the numbers of Americans with medical insurance that covers mental health decline. In Philly, poverty, systemic racism, gun violence, and ensuing trauma compound the crisis.
It’s no wonder so many Philadelphians feel anxious, depressed, burnt out, just plain down — or much worse. Please, use this guide to help yourself and the ones you care about.
The City, state, academic, and local nonprofits listed below free and low-cost support for mental health care. The City of Philadelphia’s Department of Health and Behavioral Services, offers additional resources here and here.
Remember: Help is out there. You are not alone.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, please call the free, 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.
The City’s 24-hour Mental Health Delegate Line provides a variety of services: consultations, referrals, deployment of crisis specialists, and short-term mental health residencies. More information on what they offer, here. 1101 Market Street, Suite 700, (215) 685-6440
Healthy Minds Philly is the department’s online clearinghouse of free tools and resources such as mental health counseling, online screening for mental illnesses and mental health First Aid training.
Founded in 2018 by Tasnim Sulaiman, locally-based Black Men Heal (BMH) works to remove the stigma attached to mental health care for men of color, connect providers with clients, and eliminate the cost of quality therapy. BMH has provided hundreds of free therapy sessions to date, not just in PA, but also in NJ, DE, GA, MD, VA, New York City, and Washington, D.C.
The Crisis Text Line is a national 24/7 texting hotline offering mental health support for any emotional crisis. Conversations with trained volunteers typically last 15 to 45 minutes and sometimes include referrals. More info here.
Cost: Free. U.S. users can contact them by texting the word HOME to 741741 or messaging them through Facebook.
Drexel University offers individual and group counseling through its professionals and doctoral students to any Philadelphian. You do not need to be a Drexel student, alum, or employee to receive counseling here. 3201 Chestnut Street, (215) 553-7128
Cost: Sliding scale, based on a client’s annual gross income. The center does not accept medical insurance.
The Latinx-operated Hispanic Community Counseling Services offers high-quality mental health, substance abuse and educational services, and does not turn away undocumented patients. More info. 1952 E. Allegheny Avenue, (215) 291-8151; 3219-3221 Kensington Avenue, (215) 425-6900
Cost: Sliding scale.
JFCS provides counseling for adults, teens and children. The nonprofit also hosts workshops about substance abuse, violence, and cyberbullying, and has a volunteer-operated “friendly callers line” open Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm. OIC Center: 1231 N. Broad Street; Northeast Services Hub: 6434 Castor Avenue; Barbara and Harvey Brodsky Enrichment Center, 345 Montgomery Avenue, Bala Cynwyd, (267) 256-2075
LiveWell is a volunteer-led nonprofit that strives to provide Philadelphians with resources and support for depression through free, peer-led support groups. Therapy info here. 1721 South Street, (267) 530-3739
Mango Tree LLC is a mental health resource center based out of William Way Community Center that focuses on counseling Asians and Asian Americans. Services include couples therapy, wellness seminars and group therapy. 1315 Spruce Street, 2nd floor, (267) 603-7126
Cost: Sliding Scale. Reduced student rates. Some medical insurance accepted. Fee info here.
This national hotline, formerly the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, is a network of crisis centers that provide free, confidential, 24/7 support to people suffering from suicidal or emotional distress. They offer specialized online resources on their website and services in Spanish and for the deaf and hard of hearing. 988
Philadelphia’s chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, provides support groups and educational courses for people with mental illness. NAMI members work to advocate for policy supporting better care for mental illness. All facilitators of NAMI programs are people living with mental illness or their family members. To connect. (800) 950-NAMI (6264)
Based at the University of Pennsylvania, the Cohen Clinic provides mental health care for veterans and military members at no cost and with no long waits. 3535 Market Street, (844) 573-3146; (215) 898-1699. Crisis line: (800) 273-8255
Cost: Free for veterans and members of the military. Details here.
SAMHSA’s helpline is a 24/7, 365 day-a-year treatment and referral service connecting callers to treatment options near them for substance abuse and/or mental health disorders. Services are offered in English and Spanish. (800) 662-HELP (4357); TTY: (800) 487-4889
Master’s degree-level clinicians — many who speak Spanish and/or are queer or trans — staff a free, confidential hotline to offer grief and emotional support to school-age students from the Philadelphia region. The School District of Philadelphia and the Uplift Center for Grieving Children sponsor the line. (833) 745-4673
Philadelphians struggling with addiction can receive community-based recovery services: peer coaching, recovery support group meetings, and resources for accessing social services. Fill out this form to get started. Recovery text line: (267) 578-3215
For decades, William Way has provided outreach and support to Philly’s LGBTQIA+ community. Weeknights, peer counseling sessions consist of short-term and goal-oriented conversations that include referrals, if appropriate. There are recovery meetings too. Call before 8pm. 1315 Spruce Street, main number: (215) 732-2220; counseling: (267) 416-0451
WOAR (Women Organized Against Rape) provides support and referrals to victims of sexual assault through individual and group therapy, both traditional and through dance, music and yoga. 24-hour crisis hotline: (215) 985-3333; Online chat, 1617 JFK Boulevard, #800, (215) 985-3315
Updated July 24, 2023.
The Citizen is one of 20 news organizations producing Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project on solutions to poverty and the city’s push towards economic mobility. Follow the project on Twitter @BrokeInPhilly.
MORE ON MENTAL HEALTH FROM THE PHILADELPHIA CITIZENHeader photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash