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Online anxiety support groups can help you connect with others and share your experiences in a supportive, judgment-free zone.

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Living with anxiety can be an isolating experience, and you may feel alone at times, especially if people around you can’t relate to what you’re going through.

Online anxiety support groups provide a safe space in which you can connect with others with anxiety, share your feelings, and find support and strength from the community.

Anxiety is a common mental health condition. In fact, 31% of adults in the United States will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. If you have anxiety, you don’t have to go through it alone. Sometimes, having support from others who have similar experiences is just what you need.

We’ve compiled a list of our favorite online anxiety support groups, which you can access from the comfort of your home.

To select the best online anxiety support groups, we spent time considering important aspects of each platform, including:

  • anonymity and privacy offered to participants
  • accuracy of information provided on the site
  • established and secure website or app
  • guidelines for participation
  • moderation (particularly for discussion forums)
  • user reviews
  • qualifications of the staff

Best overall

Support Groups Central

Price: most groups are free, but some charge a small fee to participate

Support Groups Central offers support groups for various mental health conditions, including anxiety. In addition to groups categorized by conditions, there are groups for People of Color, the LGBTQIA+ community, and veterans.

People from around the world use the groups to share their experiences, encourage one another, and offer support.

In addition to asking questions on the discussion forums, members can join meetings via video and audio. If you prefer anonymity, you can turn off your video and log in with a username.

What we like

  • Meetings are led by trained instructors, many of whom are licensed mental health professionals.
  • You can sign up for email alerts about future meetings by topics of interest.
  • According to Support Groups Central’s website, 95% of participants would recommend the service to others.

What to look out for

  • Some groups charge a fee or request donations to participate.
  • As with most discussion forums, it’s advisable to be cautious with tips offered by group members and to discuss them with your treatment team, as the information may not be evidence-based or medically recommended.

Best app

7 Cups

Price: free access to connect with listeners in chat rooms and forums; $150 per month for unlimited chat sessions with a licensed mental health professional

7 Cups is an online emotional support service that allows users to connect with friendly, caring support any time, day or night.

The app has more than 300,000 trained volunteers called “listeners” who provide free emotional support when you need it. Connect one-on-one with a listener in a private chat room, find support and friendship in the forums, or join a scheduled support group session.

7 Cups offers online meetings each week, including sharing circles and support sessions. They also have a community specifically for anxiety support.

What we like

  • You can connect with a caring listener within minutes of logging on, any time day or night.
  • Self-help guides provide detailed information on many mental health topics and conditions to give users information and advice on coping strategies.
  • Professional moderators maintain a safe, supportive community.
  • Web- and app-based, so you can access the service from your tablet, computer, or smartphone.

What to look out for

  • Accessing chats with a licensed mental health professional costs $150 per month, and is only available to people older than 18 years.
  • There is a high turnover of listeners, which means you may need to speak with a new person each time you log in.
  • Tips offered in the forums may not be evidence-based or medically recommended, so it’s best to use caution and discuss anything you may want to try with your treatment team.

Best for people with anxiety and substance use disorder

SMART Recovery

Price: free

SMART Recovery offers support for those living with substance use disorder and other dual diagnoses, including anxiety.

Mutual-support groups with members around the world help participants resolve problems related to addiction.

SMART Recovery takes a science-based approach that emphasizes self-empowerment and changing behaviors.

The site provides free access to more than 40 online meetings per week, and online discussion forums are open around the clock.

What we like

  • The search function helps you find local in-person groups, local virtual groups, and virtual groups with others around the world.
  • SMART Recovery uses evidence, science-based approaches to recovery.

What to look out for

  • The service doesn’t require group leaders to be sober.
  • Members are encouraged to focus on the present and future, rather than share stories from the past.

Best for immediate support

Inspire by Mental Health America

Price: free

Mental Health America (MHA) is a community-based nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing mental health conditions and promoting wellness.

The site offers early identification and intervention, as well as a list of services and support for those who need it.

MHA’s online support group, Inspire, is a free resource that allows members to share experiences, ask questions, and get peer-to-peer support from others who understand what it’s like to live with anxiety.

What we like

  • MHA offers free mental health screening tests, including a test for anxiety.
  • Inspire is the largest provider of health-specific communities.
  • Groups are moderated by MHA staff.

What to look out for

  • The groups are led by peers, not trained mental health professionals.

Best peer-to-peer support group

TheTribe

Price: free

TheTribe wellness community is a peer-to-peer support group for those living with mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders.

With over 130,000 members, TheTribe users share stories and meet others with similar experiences in a supportive online space.

In addition to online groups, TheTribe encourages members to complete fun activities and offers resources to find online therapy.

What we like

  • TheTribe has groups for various communities, including anxiety, the LGBTQIA+ community, and teens.
  • Inspirational wellness tools include wellness tracker, member blogs, mood mapping, and sending kudos to other members.

What to look out for

  • There’s a lack of facilitators.
  • TheTribe doesn’t offer discussion boards.

Best online discussion forum

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Price: free

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to education and research around mental health conditions.

The site offers a comprehensive list of community and online support groups for anxiety disorders and other mental health conditions.

AADA’s online chat-based forums and peer-to-peer support groups allow members to connect with others who are experiencing anxiety, contribute to conversations, ask questions, and share their journey.

What we like

  • The site hosts active discussion forums with engaged members from around the world.
  • Educational resources include webinars, podcasts, videos, books, and brochures on anxiety disorders.

What to look out for

  • Groups aren’t led by trained professionals, though they are moderated by community members.
  • It’s best to use caution with suggestions made by forum members and to discuss whether suggested practices are safe for you with your treatment team.

What is the purpose of a support group for anxiety?

For many people, living with anxiety is a lonely experience. Online support groups bring people together to share thoughts and feelings, learn coping strategies, and hear stories of others that can be validating to your own experience.

Online anxiety support groups often fill a gap between medical treatment for anxiety and the need for emotional support, helping members feel less alone.

Whether you have access to other mental health support or not, online anxiety support groups offer fellowship, understanding, and a safe space to share and connect with others — all from the comfort of your own home.

How do online support groups differ from in-person support groups?

Online support groups are becoming increasingly popular, as a convenient, affordable, and accessible alternative to in-person groups. These groups offer accessibility, flexibility, and privacy. People with social anxiety may find online groups less intimidating to participate in.

In-person anxiety support groups give members the chance to engage in face-to-face interactions, which may make relationship building and fostering connections a little easier for some.

How do I know which option is best for me?

Some people feel much more comfortable interacting with others online, particularly when sharing vulnerable thoughts and feelings. Others feel like they can’t make a real connection with others virtually, and prefer face-to-face interactions.

You may need to try both online and in-person support groups to determine which is the best fit for you. There may be times you prefer the ease of online groups, and others where you crave in-person interactions. It’s OK to try out different groups both in-person and online to find the right fit for you.

The important thing is to find a group and attend it regularly. A small 2020 study found that online and offline peer support groups are central to recovery from mental health conditions.

Online support groups won’t treat anxiety on their own, but having access to peer support can be very helpful in managing anxiety in your day-to-day life.

You may be nervous about sharing personal issues with people you’ve just met when you first joined a group. Try to listen and warm up to others in the group. Over time, you may feel more comfortable sharing your own experiences.

It’s important to remember that a support group isn’t a substitute for professional mental healthcare. Speak with your doctor or therapist if you need help coping with your anxiety beyond what a support group can provide.