Written by Writer’s Corps member Courtney Rostorfer
If you or someone you know is in an unhealthy relationship, it can be difficult to know where to point them to for help. The great news is there are many wonderful resources and organizations–right at your fingertips–that are ready and willing to help anyone who might be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. Here are five resources you may not have known about that could assist you or a friend.
1. University Counseling Services
If you are a college student, check with your university’s medical center to see what kind of mental health services they offer. Most universities offer free, confidential counseling services to all of their students. You can often participate in one-on-one counseling, or you may have the option to participate in group counseling with peers in similar situations. Group counseling provides a great opportunity to establish a support system on campus with others that may be having similar experiences.
2. Domestic Violence (DV) Programs and Shelters
As of 2010, there are approximately 1,700 local domestic violence programs and shelters across the country. There you will find social workers, professional counselors, and trained volunteers who can help you create safety plans, find housing or provide relocation assistance, as well as economic assistance, support groups.
3. Employee Assistance Program
Check with your employer to see if they have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in place. An EAP is an employer-provided resource that provides free, short-term, confidential counseling to employees who are experiencing personal and/or work related problems; including relationship abuse. Depending on the size of your company, anywhere between 75% and 97% offer an EAP, and help is usually 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can learn about your company’s EAP program by contacting your company’s HR department.
Our furry friends are important to us acting as a constant friend and comforter. If your partner is threatening to hurt your pet, it can make it hard to leave that unhealthy relationship. If you want to leave an unhealthy relationship but you are concerned about your pet’s safety, you can work with Red Rover. This fantastic organization helps victims of abuse find temporary shelter for their pets and they even assist with the financial aspect.
Loveisrespect is an organization that provides 24/7 assistance to anyone who is experiencing dating abuse. Their website provides tons of information on everything from safety planning to legal advice in addition to quizzes that assess you and your partner’s relationship behaviors and resources for abusers as well. They are available to chat online, text, or call. Visit loveisrespect.org. for more information.
Asking for help can be intimidating, but these five resources are here to help! Remember, there are real-time resources available to help if immediate assistance is necessary. If you or someone you know is experiencing an unhealthy or abusive relationship, check out our resources, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you’re in imminent danger, please call 911.