Help is available. Real help, that works for you.
That’s what this section is all about.
First we focus on immediate live assistance, from a person with special training to help men with histories of unwanted or abusive experiences in childhood (and people who care about them).
Next this page has some guidance on sorting through your options, and then encouragement to reach out – when you’re ready – for the kind of help that feels most comfortable and useful to you.
And to the left are links to more information that’s valuable when you’re considering the options and reaching out for help.
Getting Help Now
There are several ways to get help now, by phone or online chat.
1in6 Online SupportLine – 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week
1in6 has partnered with RAINN to offer our ‘Online SupportLine’ for men seeking information and resources related to unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood, and for people who care about them. 1in6 works with RAINN to ensure that all SupportLine staff members are trained to help visitors from 1in6.org. Every staff member knows (1) the effects of unwanted or abusive childhood sexual experiences, (2) issues and concerns specific to men who have had such experiences, and (3) local services that are available. All ‘chats’ are confidential and users are encouraged to remain anonymous.
For information about other helplines/hotlines – phone and online – see Other Helplines & Peer Support.
If you are in immediate danger, of seriously harming yourself or being harmed by someone else, we recommend calling 911 or going to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Sorting Through Priorities and Options
Fortunately, there are many options for finding help. At the same time, let’s admit reality: in many parts of the United States and the rest of the world, it’s still a challenge to find people in your community who really understand and know how to help.
As you sort through the options for finding help, you’ll almost certainly have these 4 questions:
- What do I need help with first?
- What help is actually available to me?
- Am I, or could I be, comfortable doing that?
- What’s it going to cost me?
Where should you focus your efforts first? Finding someone who is experienced working with men who had harmful sexual experiences in childhood? Becoming less depressed? Getting your memories of what happened to be much less disturbing? If you have an addiction that’s messing up your life, should you focus on that first? What if you’re being threatening or abusive to others, like a girlfriend or partner, or your children?
Where to focus first may not be obvious. Some things may just feel “too private” or shameful to even think about right now, let alone seek help for them. Or some problems may be extremely disruptive to your life, and you know it makes no sense to start with something else. Someone important to you may be saying, basically, “If you don’t deal with _____, then our relationship is over.”
If you’re feeling confused, and not sure where to start even thinking about getting help, you’re not alone. We understand. However clear or confused you are, our goal is to provide some resources and guidance that increase clarity and help you sort through your options and make some decisions – when you’re ready, at your own pace.
For starters, let’s think about two very different options, reading websites and being in therapy…
- There’s a lot of information available on the web right now, for free. But could reading a lot by yourself – with no one to help you to sort out the thoughts, memories and emotions kicked up by what you’re reading – also feel very uncomfortable, even unsafe? Could it be ‘information overload’? Could reading lots leave you feeling more confused and less hopeful than you are now? And what about the language of what you read? Might websites using words like ‘abuse’ and ‘survivor’ put you off, make you want to turn away and bottle everything up again?
- Or consider therapy. It’s completely different from reading a web page. On the one hand, maybe you could finally talk to someone who understands what you’re dealing with, who won’t judge or shame you, and could help you achieve your goals in life. On the other hand, you may worry that it would be “too much” to speak about such experiences with someone you don’t know. (Would I feel too ashamed? Would I “lose it” emotionally? Would they be worthy of my trust? Would they be qualified to help me?) Or might it feel like not enough, only to meet with a therapist every week or two for just 45 minutes to an hour? And could you afford it anyway, at least long enough for it to do any good?
As you’ll see, for just about any man interested in finding help, there are several options between reading a web page and being in therapy. And there are many different therapy or counseling options (short vs. long-term, focused on particular current problems vs. “processing” traumatic memories, etc.).
And of course, some of you will have more options than others – thanks to where you live, the language you speak, and how much money you have.
Whatever your situation, we do suggest that, at some point, you get some input from another person who has enough knowledge and experience to help you sort through your priorities and options.
- It might only be one call to a hotline or helpline, one online chat, one brief exchange on a web bulletin board, or one meeting with a therapist or counselor (with no obligation for a second).
- You don’t have to say anything you don’t feel comfortable saying, or reveal anything you don’t feel comfortable revealing.
- The idea is simple but powerful: Reach out to a real person, someone who may be able to help you sort through your own options and make some good decisions.
- And if you try and the first person isn’t helpful, don’t give up. Try again, when you’re ready, after doing a little more research.