What to do when you are feeling hopeless

SAMHSA’s National Helpline | SAMHSA

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  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

    Also visit the online treatment locator.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

English and Spanish are available if you select the option to speak with a national representative. Currently, the 435748 (HELP4U) text messaging service is only available in English.

In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.

The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.

The service is confidential. We will not ask you for any personal information. We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs.

No, we do not provide counseling. Trained information specialists answer calls, transfer callers to state services or other appropriate intake centers in their states, and connect them with local assistance and support.

  • Suggested Resources

    What Is Substance Abuse Treatment? A Booklet for Families
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    It's Not Your Fault (NACoA) (PDF | 12 KB)
    Assures teens with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs that, "It's not your fault!" and that they are not alone. Encourages teens to seek emotional support from other adults, school counselors, and youth support groups such as Alateen, and provides a resource list.

    After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member After Treatment in the Emergency Department
    Aids family members in coping with the aftermath of a relative's suicide attempt. Describes the emergency department treatment process, lists questions to ask about follow-up treatment, and describes how to reduce risk and ensure safety at home.

    Family Therapy Can Help: For People in Recovery From Mental Illness or Addiction
    Explores the role of family therapy in recovery from mental illness or substance abuse. Explains how family therapy sessions are run and who conducts them, describes a typical session, and provides information on its effectiveness in recovery.

    For additional resources, please visit the SAMHSA Store.

Last Updated: 08/30/2022

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What to do if you think that you are worse than others

Varvara Grankova

The feeling that you are worse than your colleagues can manifest itself in many different forms. It can pass quickly - for example, if the boss complimented someone else in front of you, or put pressure on you constantly - for example, if your colleague quit to start his own business. Use the following five tricks to keep your spirits up and improve your own efficiency.

Keep track of what causes you stress. Think about what makes you compare yourself to others. Does it upset you if your boss praises someone but not you? Are you jealous of the achievements of specific acquaintances? Do you often find yourself scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and feeling more and more lonely and insecure? If yes, you are not alone. According to research, social media exacerbates our tendency to give more attention to unpleasant feelings than to pleasant ones.

Try to notice what makes you compare yourself to others: by understanding what these triggers are, you can try to respond to them in a more constructive way.

Try to make use of your own feelings. You most likely can't help but listen to what your boss has to say about you and your colleagues. And while you may stop talking to your friends or quit social media, it will probably only make you feel more lonely. It is better to act differently: to deliberately use these feelings to your advantage.

The next time you're scrolling through social media feeds, ask yourself why you're doing it. Are you bored? So, look for something interesting, not something that will make you feel even worse. And if you hear the news about a colleague's career success and feel like you're giving in, stop and calmly, without judgment, follow your feelings, and then make a decision and try to perceive the colleague's success objectively. Think as if you are not a direct competitor to him, but a journalist who writes an article about him.

If it's all too hard, of course, it's better to take a break. But remember that you can always try to learn something in every situation. Don’t say to yourself “I wish I could do this too” or “I wish I could do this too.” Better phrase it like this: “Why shouldn’t I do the same?” Listen to the thoughts that will arise in your head after such a phrase.

Show your strengths to regain your strength and motivation. During an acute bout of insecurity, you can get stuck thinking about how to catch up with others. At times like these, it's important to regain your sense of efficiency: do something simple and win a small victory. Use your greatest strengths, show them to the world and recharge your confidence from it.

One of my clients was to be promoted to Senior Vice President, but due to the pandemic, his promotion was delayed. He was very upset and envious of acquaintances from other companies who managed to cross this line even before the crisis.

The more he suffered, the worse he worked. To break this vicious circle, he decided to use his forte: the ability to write. He wrote a good article for the company's blog about how management is coping with the crisis - and it became the most viewed post in the history of the blog. Many junior and senior colleagues thanked him for his honesty and optimism. This feedback gave him back his confidence in his own usefulness to the company.

Create a new field of play. Comparisons with a narrow group of colleagues do not make sense: colleagues can either overtake or lag behind them. But if you take a broader view of the situation and include new, more diverse groups, the idea of ​​​​success will become more voluminous and you will have new areas in which you can win.

Jackie, a director at a Fortune 100 company, has not been promoted to vice president for three years. It did not give her peace. Realizing that she always compared herself only to a small group of other vice presidents, Jackie began to connect with people outside the company. Taking part in a meeting of entrepreneurs, listening to presentations of local startups and being in the role of a mentor, she felt a surge of strength. She also lagged behind this group of new acquaintances, because they already had their own business, but she was pleased to learn from them. Not only did this help her turn away from unpleasant comparisons with colleagues within the company, but it also gave her the energy and motivation to reassess her career ambitions.

Release inner expectations. If you fall behind your peers in real competition—for example, they get promoted and you don't—that's one problem. But there is another, even more harmful situation that can become a source of perpetual insecurity - the belief that you should not only get ahead of your colleagues, but also want what they want. This tyranny of duty breeds an endless race in which you can never rejoice in what you have already achieved. Your internal definition of success is constantly changing - depending on what others want.

Think about it: maybe you did everything right? Don't increase your insecurities by diving into the past, and promise yourself to make future decisions based on your values ​​and whether they provide you with opportunities to grow. If you change plans because of other people's desires or achievements, you will constantly fall behind and depend on your colleagues.

About the author: Nihar Chhaya is an executive coach for global corporations including American Airlines, Coca-Cola, GE and Dell

Article first published in Harvard Business Review Russia. Original article here

What to do when the future seems hopeless

March 23 Motivation

There are two simple ways to change everything.



Arthur S. Brooks

Sociologist, professor at Harvard Business School, former president of the American Enterprise Institute.

The human brain is designed in such a way that when we think, we regularly "live" in the future. Sometimes this becomes a serious problem.

We humans are beings who think in perspective. So argue psychologists and philosophers - for example, Martin Seligman, Peter Railton, Roy Baumeister and Chandra Sripada in the book "Homo Prospectus".

Seligman says that about 30-50% of the thoughts that arise in the human head during the day are worries, hopes, worries about what will happen in a week, a month, a year or 10 years. No other creatures look ahead so often and far. Why, only we and some species of primates do it N. J. Mulcahy, J. Call. Apes save tools for future use / Science.

The future-thinking monkey inside of us wants to see a lot of fruits in the short term and the opportunity to get them. The best way to upset her is to let her know that the tree will be empty or the fruit will hang too high.

Since we spend a lot of time mentally in the future, we are happy to think that it is full of pleasant possibilities that we can control. And vice versa: an almost perfect cocktail for suffering is to believe that the future is hopeless and we have no leverage to change it.

Why thoughts about a hopeless future are dangerous

Usually people take the concept of hopelessness lightly. They laugh at him. They create funny pessimistic characters like Eeyore. But in real life, this pessimism is not at all a reason for laughter.

Studies show E. C. Chang, E. A. Yu, et al. An examination of optimism/pessimism and suicide risk in primary care patients: Does belief in a changeable future make a difference? / Cognitive Therapy and Research that the feeling of hopelessness is closely associated with the risk of suicide.

Pessimistic young people living to middle age are disproportionately common C. Peterson, M. E. Seligman, G. E. Vaillant. Pessimistic explanatory style is a risk factor for physical illness: A thirty-five-year longitudinal study / Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suffer from various health problems.

The same applies to the subjective feeling that you are not in control of your life. When, due to financial loss or other hardships, it begins to seem to a person that he cannot change anything, this hits noticeably R. H. Price, J. N. Choi, A. D. Vinokur. Links in the chain of adversity following job loss: How financial strain and loss of personal control lead to depression, impaired functioning, and poor health / Journal of Occupational Health Psychology

In short, when your inner monkey begins to see an empty tree in the future, it becomes ill. It is even more unpleasant if there are many monkeys on this tree at once and hopelessness covers them all. The collective sense of powerlessness is overwhelming, making each individual feel even worse.

What to do when the future looks hopeless

It seems like all we can do in a situation like this is sit and wait. Vaccines. collective immunity. Elections. Basically, anything that might change our perspective. Meanwhile, pessimism will grow.

However, we are not helpless. Yes, each of us can do little to speed up the emergence of vaccines or, for example, to influence the political structure of the state as a whole. But we can change our way of thinking so that hopelessness does not take over and break us, at the same time ruining our health.

Just two steps are enough for this.

1. Challenging seeming futility

Pessimism is actually a mirror that distorts A. Perlmutter. How negative news distorts our thinking / Psychology Today reality. We expect the worst and see in everything a progressive and inexorable movement towards this scenario. As a result, despair grows.

Seligman and other psychologists recommend M. E. P. Seligman, P. R. Verkuil, T. H. Kang. Why lawyers are unhappy / Deakin Law Review fight this with the so-called dispute technique. It consists in the following.

Imagine the worst version of the future you expect. And find logical inconsistencies, flaws in it - challenge it.

This is to prove to yourself that the future is multivariate, and a bad scenario may be less realistic than a good one.

Here's my example: I teach at a university and love working with students in the classroom. It fills me with energy, brings joy. However, due to the pandemic, all classes had to be transferred online. At first it was unusual and interesting. Then it started to scare.

A year has passed. The other day I found myself brooding over the fact that I would probably never again return to that open, student-filled auditorium that I loved so much. That having to lecture from home, through a computer screen, would be my new normal. That pessimism is fueled by headlines like “How Coronavirus Will Change Universities Forever.”

However, in fact, the feeling of hopelessness in my case is completely unjustified. And I challenged it by analyzing the facts. For example, he took into account the vaccination that had begun. I read the forecasts, according to which the pandemic will end by the end of 2021. And I came to the conclusion: there is a high probability that classes in the classroom will resume within a year. So my troubles are certainly tiresome, but temporary.

Most likely, your future is also brighter and brighter than the picture that you draw for yourself in gloomy reflections. So challenge your own pessimism. Only not thoughtless optimism, but facts.

2. Change your goals to see opportunities within your limitations

When I was 30, I made a living as an analyst at a large think tank in California. And when I had problems, the boss said: "Turn restrictions into solutions."

He suggested starting the study of each problem by enumerating how and in what way it limits me. And then, instead of sadly accepting this as an inevitable given, figure out how you can use the restrictions to your advantage.

A simple example. During quarantine, I often heard complaints about remote work. People said that it is impossible to work effectively from home when children and family are nearby. Which exhausts the need to constantly cook. Lack of live communication with colleagues. And because of all this, it is not possible to be as productive as before.

Yes, there are restrictions. But look at them as opportunities. To do this, it is enough to adjust your own definition of productivity.

Many people have a distorted idea of ​​a productive life, associating it exclusively with work. Take the Americans: they work more than they need to indiscriminately.

For example, a survey conducted in 2018 by the United States Travel Association showed Study: A record 768 million U.S. vacation days went unused in ‘18, opportunity cost in the billions / U.S. Travel Association: 55% of workers deliberately cut their paid vacation time. And 54% of those who did go on a good rest reported What does America have against vacation? / The Washington Post that feel guilty.

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