Understanding different types of mental health support

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, one in five people in the U.S. faces mental health challenges, and the effects can ripple across every area of their lives. Although high-quality care can help mitigate those effects, a host of persistent barriers keeps more than half of people who need support from getting it. 

One common barrier to accessing care is the belief that your symptoms are not severe enough or important enough to deserve one-on-one attention. The truth is that everyone can benefit from support, and waiting until things get worse can lead to additional issues.  

Pursuing mental health care early can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve personal and professional relationships and build skills to address mental health problems that may arise in the future.  

The differences between mental health coaching and therapy 

What is mental health coaching? 

Mental health coaching is a method of care that involves meeting regularly with a certified coach to address challenges such as anxiety, stress, relationship issues or parenting questions. During each session, a certified coach will collaborate with you to identify challenges, get to the root of the issue and help you learn new strategies to feel better and stay on track. In between sessions, your coach will assign exercises so you can develop lasting change and feel more like yourself again.  

Coaching is most beneficial for people who need support with mild to moderate challenges such as stress, burnout or relationship issues. 

What is therapy? 

There are many kinds of therapy, ranging from trauma to cognitive and behavioral. Regardless of which approach is used, all techniques should be evidence-based, meaning proven to help clients develop new skills and strategies for dealing with problematic thoughts, emotions and behaviors. 

Therapy is beneficial for people with a mental health disorder or clinical condition.  

Lyra understands that there is no one-size fits-all solution. Take Lyra’s clinical assessment to get matched with a personalized list of high-quality providers who have diverse identities and backgrounds. Lyra will suggest the best care options for you based on your answers from your clinical assessment, which helps match you with the level of care that will be most supportive. 

Join or Learn More 

Vanderbilt employees and their families are eligible to receive 12 counseling sessions per household member each year, at no cost to employees.  

Sign up today at or call 877-804-2856.  

Answers to frequently asked questions are on the Office of Health and Wellness’ website.