Frequently Asked Questions.


Most people turn a blind eye to animal exploitation; they choose to ignore it. But animal activists and advocates know about the overwhelming suffering that exists in the world. This knowledge can take a heavy emotional toll and can create problems in our relationships with friends, family, co-workers, and partners.Many activists struggle with:

  • Depression & anxiety
  • Isolation from friends and family who don’t get it
  • Stress of trying to balance work/school/personal life with activism
  • A need to do as much as possible to help animals
  • Hopelessness, lack of motivation, & feelings of futility
  • Burnout & compassion fatigue
  • In-fighting between animal rights activists
  • …and more

Practicing self-care and seeking support when you need it will make you a better activist. Burnout, in-fighting, depression, and stress drain our ability to effectively fight for animals.

This service is for anyone seeking support, information, guidance, or resources. We are here to provide support for mental health issues. We’re here if you need a friendly ear to listen while you vent. And we’re here if you just want to ask a quick question or want help finding a particular resource. Even if you’re dealing with an issue that is seemingly unrelated to your activism, we’re here.

This service is meant for:

  • Brand new activists
  • Long-time activists
  • Anyone new to veganism or vegetarianism
  • Friends/family of activists who want to know how to be more supportive
This service is 100% confidential and can be completely anonymous. We never give your information to any third parties (we will never be calling the cops or your parents on you). We automatically delete all messages after responding and do not retain any of your personal information. We do not ask for identifying information.

We know that reaching out for support can be difficult and we know that confidentiality/anonymity can help take away some of the barriers to accessing support. We don’t need to know who you are; we just want to help (so that you can help animals).

*you can use services like GhostMail to provide more anonymity.

Animal rights and animal liberation activists should be concerned about privacy and their rights, especially in the face of institutional activist repression. But we work to ensure that privacy concerns do not prevent activists from accessing the support they need.

We automatically delete all support messages immediately after responding. Under no circumstances do we willingly hand over information to law enforcement or any other third party (in the event that we are subpoenaed by a court, we will fight the subpoena and nevertheless cannot provide any evidence since all data related to support texts and emails are routinely deleted). We ask that activists seeking support refrain from discussing potentially ‘illegal’ actions and that they refer to other activists using pseudonyms where appropriate.

Messages are responded to by Activist Support Line Counsellors. These individuals have received in-depth training: some are therapists with years of experience working in the mental health field and some are trained caring volunteers. All of our counsellors are also dedicated and passionate animal rights activists.

The people responding to your messages all use the pseudonym “Sam.” The animal activist community can be a small one at times and pseudonyms allow for activists to get support in a less threatening way.

We guarantee that all text and chat messages will be responded to within 30 minutes and that all emails will be responded to within 6 hours.

You are welcome to tell us as much or as little as you’d like. You get to set the pace for support; we never have to talk about anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. And you can end a conversation / not respond at any time. You can expect warmth, understanding, and non-judgmental listening.

You can find a full list of your rights and what you can expect here.

Sometimes people don’t know where to start when accessing support or aren’t sure whether we can help. Below are some examples of possible questions or statements to help you get started.

  • What is activist burnout
  • How can I be a better activist?
  • My boyfriend/girlfriend eats meat and it upsets me.
  • How can I get my family to go vegetarian?
  • I feel depressed by how animals are treated.
  • Animal abuse makes me angry.
  • How do I find balance in my activism?
  • I feel alone in my animal rights work.
  • What is the best way for me to create change for animals?
  • My family doesn’t understand why I’m vegan.
  • I need legal advice for my activism.
  • I feel demotivated by in-fighting and activist conflicts.
  • I feel isolated from the animal rights community.
  • How can I commit my whole life to helping animals?
  • How can I feel more fulfilled in my activism?
  • How can I make my activism more sustainable?
  • What are the best ways for me to contribute to the movement?
  • Where can I find an animal rights mentor?
  • I feel stuck in my activism.
  • How can I heal from burnout?
  • I am having nightmares about animal cruelty.
  • I am struggling with vegetarianism/veganism.
  • My doctor said that I need to eat meat.
  • My parents won’t let me be vegetarian/vegan.
  • Can I be healthy as a vegan/vegetarian?
  • Is it expensive to be a vegan/vegetarian?
  • How can I start doing activism?
  • Are there any animal rights organizations or groups near me?
  • What is more effective: a liberationist or a welfarist approach?
  • What is more effective: protests or outreach?
  • Is animal liberation possible?
  • I feel like I’m getting no where in my activism.
  • What are the types of animal rights activism?
  • Can I be an activist if I’m shy/introverted?
  • Is online activism effective?
  • How can I find friends who are vegan?
  • What are my rights as an activist?
  • I have been arrested for animal rights activism.
  • How is human liberation tied to animal liberation?
  • I am feeling suicidal.
  • Am I too young to be an animal rights activist?
  • I get emotional when outreaching about animal exploitation.
  • I have to work at a fast food restaurant. Can I still be an activist?
  • I feel guilty asking for support.
  • I was sexually assaulted by another animal rights activist.
  • How can we make activist communities safer?
  • Can you suggest some vegan recipes?
  • I’m going to do outreach for the first time and I’m nervous.
  • I’m going to a protest for the first time and I’m nervous.
  • I hate it when people make jokes about vegans.
The very simple answer to this is: keep taking care of yourself, keep fighting to help animals, and be there for others doing the same. If you’re in a position to pay it forward, check out this page for ideas of where to start.
We are a non-profit volunteer-run organization without any funding. The costs for this service are currently being covered by our volunteer support line counselors. Please check out ways that you can help support this project and please consider making a donation. Your support helps sustain this crucial service.
There are a handful of different ways to get involved, depending on your particular skillset and life circumstances. You can help out by telling people about this service. You can help by designing graphics, creating videos, or helping with marketing. You can help with fundraising to ensure the sustainability of this vital service. And you can help out directly on the text/email/chat line.

Anyone wishing to volunteer on the line itself can email Intern@HelpActivists.org. The next round of internships will be offered in Ontario, Canada beginning April, 2017. Interns live in a house with other activists and have food and living expenses covered. Internships are an amazing opportunity for activists to develop new skills and become more effective at creating change for animals. In addition to receiving 50+ hours of training for the support lines, interns assist with various animal rights campaigns to get a well-rounded experience.

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