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- Best overall: Support Groups Central
- Best online discussion forum: Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- Best for unlimited access: Mental Health America
- Best for people also dealing with addiction: SMART Recovery
- Best app: 7 Cups
- Best for joining multiple groups: SupportGroups.com
- Best for anxiety-alleviating activities: TheTribe
Anxiety disorders can lead to feelings of loneliness, isolation, and as though no one understands you. Online anxiety support groups offer a safe setting where you can connect with others and express your feelings without judgement.
In fact, the Anxiety & Depression Association of America estimates that anxiety disorders affect roughly 40 million U.S. adults every year.
2021 research suggests that anxiety and depressive symptoms are even more prevalent due to the pandemic, affecting 4 in 10 adults.
Since seeking help is a big step, choosing your best online anxiety support group should be a thoughtful decision.
Here are the best anxiety support groups you can access from the comfort and safety of your own home.
Anxiety support groups offer people opportunities to attend regular meetings where people experiencing similar feelings and situations can offer support to each other.
Members may share their experiences and coping strategies to reduce feelings of loneliness.
The medium of the support varies per platform. Many include online discussion forums that are free and anonymous. Some offer virtual meetings or one-on-one chat rooms for real-time support from home.
Online anxiety support groups and online group therapy sessions are best for people who may not have access to other mental health services or who seek support in addition to their regular treatment.
These groups are also beneficial for people who have successfully managed their anxiety symptoms and want to help others.
We selected the best online anxiety support groups using the following criteria:
- Vetting. All groups have been vetted by Healthline to ensure they meet our standards. We also spoke to mental health professionals for their recommendations.
- Reviews. We read reviews to determine which groups had the most satisfied participants. We also considered anonymity and privacy within the platforms.
- Moderation. Many online support groups for anxiety take the form of online discussion forums, so we also considered how these groups are moderated and the guidelines for participating.
- Price. We considered free and low-cost support groups.
This criteria ensures that the following online support groups are accessible and offer a supportive environment.
Finding the right type of support is important. When looking for an anxiety support group, consider the following criteria:
- Type of support. Online support groups for anxiety usually take the form of video and audio calls, discussion forums, chat rooms, and one-on-one chat. Some groups also have corresponding in-person meetings. You can determine your level of comfort and choose accordingly. You can also opt to watch and listen to video and audio calls without participating until you’re comfortable.
- How the group is led. Some groups are led by trained instructors. Others are led by caring leaders. Many online discussion-based groups aren’t led by anyone but are moderated by administrators.
- Price. Most online anxiety support groups are free or have a small charge, making them widely accessible.
- Availability in your region. Online support groups for anxiety are available in many regions. However, some have corresponding in-person meetings that might not be an option for everyone due to location.
- Price: joining is free, but some meetings have a small charge
- Pros: meetings led by trained instructors (using the microphone and camera is optional)
- Cons: some meetings require a small charge, text-based chat is not supported
- Type of support: video and audio calls
- Best for: those looking for widely accessible, confidential, and instructor-led meetings
Support Groups Central describes the service as “a place where people can come to help and encourage each other with a variety of life issues.”
Available internationally, Support Groups Central helps people from more than 120 countries worldwide. Members join via video and audio, and they can maintain their anonymity by turning off the camera and joining with a username.
Meetings are led by trained instructors. Many of them are certified, licensed, or have advanced degrees in their respective areas. Each instructor must take and pass the Support Groups Central training program designed for the platform’s video-based meetings.
According to the site, 95 percent of participants would recommend Support Groups Central to others. Users report a reduction in symptoms, use of emergency symptoms, and hospital stays.
Best online discussion forum
- Price: free
- Pros: held by a highly reputable organization and overseen by administrators
- Cons: trained professionals aren’t present
- Type of support: discussion forums
- Best for: those looking for online chat-based discussion forums for peer-to-peer support.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) specializes in managing anxiety disorders and depression. ADAA uses evidence-based programs, including online anxiety support groups, to improve the quality of life for people seeking mental health services.
The site offers free peer-to-peer support groups where individuals can share information and experiences in online chat-based forums. There’s also a Spanish-language portion.
Support isn’t led by trained professionals. Administrators oversee the community, and members must abide by the rules.
Users say the online community is a convenient and safe place to relate to others with similar feelings. Since users are all at different places in their mental health journeys, some report feelings of fulfillment when offering support to those who need it most.
While the online community is not a replacement for emergency medical services or professional mental health services, its purpose is to provide a safe space for people who experience anxiety and depression to talk with others who understand.
Best for unlimited access
- Price: free
- Pros: similar to a social network for mental health, free mental health screening tests are available
- Cons: non-members can view posts and other activity
- Type of support: discussion community
- Best for: those looking for 24/7 access to a community of people with similar thoughts and feelings
Mental Health America is a community-based non-profit organization dedicated to offering preventative, intervention, and treatment mental health services.
The Mental Health America online support group, hosted by Inspire, is a free resource for people with anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions to ask questions, share experiences, and receive support from a community that understands.
This group uses a peer-to-peer approach and is moderated by group leaders. To determine if you’re experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition, the organization offers free mental health screening tests, including a dedicated test for anxiety.
Best for people also dealing with addiction
- Price: free
- Pros: science-based resources for addressing harmful habits and supporting long-term changes
- Cons: geared more towards addiction than anxiety
- Type of support: in-person and online meetings and online discussion forums
- Best for: those who experience anxiety alongside addiction
SMART Recovery offers help for those experiencing addiction and other harmful habits.
While not geared towards anxiety specifically, the tools and resources are beneficial for people who want to sustain successful long-term change or those who experience anxiety as well as addiction.
If you feel reliant on mental health resources for anxiety, SMART Recovery may help you progress. Whether you follow the programs or attend the meetings, you’re in charge of your pace.
According to the site, “SMART is not just any mutual-support program. Our science-based approach emphasizes self-empowerment and self-reliance.”
Meetings are held in-person and online, so members have the flexibility to choose based on their preferences and availability.
To attend a SMART Recovery meeting, view the calendar for online meetings and events. Registering is free and grants you access to more than 40 online meetings per week.
Members also gain access to free 24/7 online discussion forums.
- Price: 24/7 chat rooms, discussion forums, and app are free, but professional therapy is an additional cost
- Pros: listeners are trained
- Cons: new members don’t get access to all features right away
- Type of support: private one-on-one chat room, discussion forums, and group meetings
- Best for: those looking for support from their smartphones
7 Cups calls their service “the world’s largest emotional support system.” If you’re looking for support from your smartphone, you can download the free app. It’s available on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
7 Cups offers free emotional support by connecting people with trained listeners. You can chat one-on-one with a listener in a private chat room or join the 7 Cups online communities, including a dedicated community for anxiety support.
Each week, 7 Cups holds dozens of free online meetings, including support sessions and sharing circles.
According to 7 Cups research, 90 percent of people feel better after talking with listeners, and 80 percent of people believe listeners can help people with mental health issues.
Best for joining multiple groups
- Price: free
- Pros: groups are highly specialized
- Cons: not as well moderated as well as other groups
- Type of support: discussion forums
- Best for: those looking for support groups for anxiety and other topics
SupportGroups.com is a free online hub of support groups, including an anxiety group with more than 100,000 members.
The site offers a list of resources to help people find the specialized care they need and a blog that’s regularly updated with mental health tips.
Members can post anonymously in forums about anxiety, self-esteem, loneliness, and more. Other members can interact with and comment on posts to uplift and relate to people with similar feelings and experiences.
This is a good option if you want to participate in a variety of online support groups. But the site doesn’t appear to be as well moderated as others.
Best for anxiety-alleviating activities
- Price: free
- Pros: consists of a large community and toolbox of resources to alleviate anxiety
- Cons: not specifically for anxiety
- Type of support: chat rooms and discussion forums
- Best for: those looking for resources, like mood charts, inspiring activities, and other tools, in addition to anxiety support groups
TheTribe offers peer-to-peer support groups for those experiencing addiction, anxiety, depression, HIV, and obsessive compulsive disorder. Additionally, there are groups for people in the LGBTQIA+ community, people in marriages and raising families, and teens.
The site also offers resources to find online therapy for those who need it.
According to TheTribe, “Members of our support groups have found that, in addition to professional therapy, sharing stories and meeting others with anxiety can be therapeutic.”
TheTribe claims it’s not just a support group. In addition to online groups, TheTribe offers an environment of support and encouragement. Members are prompted to complete fun and inspiring activities, connect with others, chart their mood, and more.
With more than 130,000 tribe members, TheTribe is a large community of people who understand.
|Price||Type of support||Best for|
|Support Groups Central||– free to join|
– most meetings are free to attend, though some have a small charge
|– video calls|
– audio calls
|those looking for widely accessible, confidential, and instructor-led meetings|
|Anxiety and Depression Association of America||free||discussion forums||those looking for online chat-based discussion forums for peer-to-peer support|
|Mental Health America||free||discussion community||those looking for 24/7 access to a community of people with similar thoughts and feelings|
|SMART Recovery||free||– in-person and online meetings|
– online discussion forums
|those who experience anxiety alongside addiction|
|7 Cups||– app, 24/7 chat rooms, and discussion forums are free |
– professional therapy is additional cost
|– private one-on-one chat room|
– discussion forums
– group meetings
|those looking for support from their smartphones|
|SupportGroups.com||free||discussion forums||those looking for support groups for anxiety and other topics.|
|TheTribe||free||– chat rooms|
– discussion forums
|those looking for resources, like mood charts, inspiring activities, and other tools, in addition to anxiety support groups|
What is the purpose of an anxiety support group?
“The purpose of an anxiety support group is to connect individuals who struggle with anxiety in a community setting that allows them to share experiences, struggles, and coping mechanisms and fosters relationship development between members,” explains Mary Gay, PSYD, LPC, CPCS.
“The aim of these groups is to reduce the feeling of the loneliness and isolationism many feel when they are dealing with anxiety.”
Is an anxiety support group right for me?
Anyone who experiences symptoms of anxiety and feels alone in their experience may benefit from joining an online anxiety support group.
They can be especially helpful to those who may require extra care in addition to therapy and other forms of treatment. Since anxiety disorders can have ongoing symptoms, online support groups can be used as part of someone’s continuing treatment.
How do online support groups differ from in-person support groups?
Online support groups offer more accessibility and flexibility than in-person groups. They also tend to be less intimidating for people who experience social anxiety.
However, the lack of face-to-face interaction can take away some relationship building aspects of traditional support groups that meet in-person.
How do I decide which option is best for me?
Online support groups are free or low-cost and tend to be low-risk, so nearly everyone can access them.
This may be a good starting point for people considering other types of therapy, such as group therapy or conventional counseling.
However, the lack of commitment may be a deterrent to some who need more support.
Taking the first step to seeking help, whether setting up a therapy appointment or logging onto an online support group, can be hard.
Online support groups for anxiety take away some of the intimidation factor of in-person support groups or group therapy.
While these groups don’t replace therapy or other services, they can serve as an additional form of support for those who need it.
If you ever feel lonely as someone experiencing anxiety, anxiety support groups can remind you that you are not alone and there are others who understand what you’re going through.
Lacey Bourassa is a health, wellness, and beauty writer based in Southern California. She holds a BA in English. Her work has appeared in digital publications like Livestrong, Verywell, Business Insider, Eat This Not That, and others. When she’s not writing, Lacey is likely pursuing her other interests: skin care, plant-based cooking, pilates, and traveling. You can keep up with her by visiting herwebsite or herblog.