It's surprisingly hard to seek mental health help. This website can make it easier.
Millions of Americans need mental health help every year.
Most don't seek it.
And those who do face a surprisingly complex, sometimes "scary" and "predatory" process that should be easier to navigate.
That's how Paul Berry, a psychologist, described the problem that his national non-profit organization, Thero, is designed to fix.
Thero's website lists qualified mental health professionals. It's free. It's searchable by location, specialty, price and more.
And it uses a community of mental health professionals to identify organizations that are respected by their peers.
There's a pressing need for Americans to find mental health help. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in June that suicide rates are climbing in nearly every state.
Suicide is a leading cause of death in America, and most who commit suicide did not have a known mental health condition the, CDC said.
Thero's timely mission is gaining it recognition and funding. On June 20, Gannett announced that the non-profit is a recipient of an "A Community Thrives" grant.
Thero received $50,000 to help support its Crisis Therapy Project — an effort to connect victims of tragedies with mental health professionals willing to help them for free.
After mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida, Thero deployed to help victims find free mental health help from willing professionals, Berry told USA TODAY.
But most people who need mental health help aren't victims of a national tragedy. And those are the people Thero was founded to serve.
Berry started the organization because his research helped him realize there was a need.
“Statistic after statistic shows the mental health seeking process is broken,” he told USA TODAY.
He's had the idea since 2010, but the website fully launched in 2016.
Thero currently lists over 20,000 mental health care resources and has a community of over 400 professionals supporting it.
There's tools other than Thero that can connect people to mental health help, Berry said.
But some are limited in scope.
And many are compromised in some way by ad sales, he said. Some directories promote the resources that pay to be promoted, which might not be best for the person seeking help, according to Berry.
Berry was quick to say that most mental health professionals provide ethical, quality care. But there are a minority who are in it for the money.
So Berry wanted to create a resource that wasn't trying to sell anything to the person trying to seek help.
Minimizing advertising on Thero has created a funding challenge, though, Berry said.
That's why the "A Community Thrives" grant is so helpful.
"Getting the $50,000 means a lot to us. A few of our staff and friends cried when we told them because they know how hard we've worked to get here and what it means for us," Berry said.