Are you looking for free online counselling? It is one of the most common requests people have and though I do not offer free sessions I am keen to share with you the organisations across the world that offer free online therapy.
Below I have listed a number of services that provide free online therapy or free online listening services.
Please be aware that this list isn’t an endorsement nor is it a recommendation towards any of these services. However, I hope you find it a useful starting point.
Though I do not offer free online counselling myself, I do provide online counselling service.
If in doubt, please check with a professional body in your country (such as the BACP in the UK).
Is free counselling ‘worth it’?
If you are interested in free counselling it is important to think about why that is. Sometimes people simply cannot afford to see a therapist privately and in those situations, it is always worth speaking to your doctor or GP to see if they can refer to you to a free of charge psychological service in your area. These may be run by the state or by a charity, so availability can vary.
Be aware that many of the services I’ve listed below will restrict access based age, on where you live, or the company you work for. If you’re looking for more information, I have provided their website so you can contact them directly.
List of free online counselling services by country
Please note that the inclusion of a link on this page is not an endorsement of the service, it is here just for information purposes.
Free online Counselling in the UK
Kooth – an online service for people aged between 10 and 25 years old in the UK https://www.kooth.com/
Childline – originally a telephone helpline, they now offer email and online chat support to anyone under 19 in the UK https://www.childline.org.uk/get-support/
NHS England – some areas in England offer free online counselling, which may be limited to online self-help but could include one-to-one sessions with a qualified therapist https://beta.nhs.uk/find-a-psychological-therapies-service/
Breathingspace Scotland – originally a telephone service for anyone in Scotland feeling depressed or anxious, they now provide online chat https://breathingspace.scot/
Talking Zone Wales – online service including webcam and messaging, for people aged from 11 to 17 living in the Newport (South Wales) area https://www.talkingzone.co.uk/
RAF & Relate – RAF personnel anywhere in the World can access up to six session of webcam, telephone or email counselling with a Relate therapist https://www.relate.org.uk/free-counselling-raf-personnel
Free online counselling in the Republic of Ireland
Turn2Me – a support service which can offer up to 8 sessions of online counselling free of charge for anyone aged 18 or over living in the Republic of Ireland http://turn2me.org
Free online support in Australia
NQ Connect – free online counselling for people living in North Queensland, Australia https://nqconnect.com.au
Free worldwide online counselling
Free worldwide online peer support in English
7 Cups – online listening service from non-professional “listeners”, who are members of the public who want to try and help others. I won’t share the link as they are all over the internet and I don’t believe that peer support is the same as counselling (though it can be wonderful, it’s just very different).
Counselling chat bots are not the same as counselling
All of these digital therapy options involve engaging with another human but there are also options where you can chat with an AI bot. My understanding of these services is that they vary in quality, so I have resisted listing online therapy bots here.
Online self help?
Also, there are lots of digital self help services, which some would consider comes under the umbrella of online therapy but I am also leaving those out of here because I believe that the important part of counselling is the relationship you form with your therapist.
This is not to say self help isn’t very effective and I am sure I will write about it in the near future.
Other sources of free online counselling?
A recent change, due to COVID-19, is that more counsellors are working online than ever before. This also includes trainees, who gain experience working in agencies that support all kinds of mental health issues and sections of society.
You might find that a local or national charity now provides online counselling, for free, as the Coronavirus restrictions prevented them from doing so face-to-face. As there are so many counselling agencies and mental health charities, I won’t be able to list them here but suggest you see if they are listed with a counselling association such as the BACP, UKCP or NCS.
There are a lot of organisations offering some form of psychological support online, though not many of them offer free counselling sessions. However, this list illustrates that there are a number of bodies in a position to provide free support, usually with some restrictions on who they can accept based on residency.
If you find this list to be helpful, please share it with others and kindly let me know if there are other organisations offering free therapy. Contact me so I can update this list.