It is difficult to watch someone you love and care about struggle with a mental health disorder. Sometimes, your loved one may not want help, either through misinformation, pride, or peer pressure. Luckily, there is something you can do to help. Below, you will find tips on how to prompt someone you love to seek treatment for their mental health disorder.
The first thing you should always do is to remind your loved ones that you will always be there if they need you. Sometimes people are comforted by the idea that someone will always be there for them should they ask. You should do your best to be a person that does not needlessly judge people, is willing to listen to someone, and can be available or reachable should they be needed. You should strive to be a safe person that will never ridicule or judge someone for their troubles. By being supportive, you give your loved ones a safety net that they know they can always fall back on.
Seek to Understand Them
Your loved one may be struggling with either one or many mental health disorders, most of which vary greatly in symptoms and severity. Something important to do is to research what they are going through when it comes to their mental health. If someone you love is struggling with anxiety, you may learn calming techniques to help reassure them that they are safe.
Someone with depression may need someone to check on them and remind them to take care of themselves. Alternatively, someone with a substance use disorder will need someone who has researched the effects of addiction on the mind and understands what is happening. Showing the person that you love that you are making an attempt to understand their troubles and that you do not judge them for it goes a long way in making someone comfortable enough to take the next step.
Become an Advocate
Often when someone does not seek help, it is because they are unsure of what to do and who to ask for help. You can help them by doing a little research about their conditions. The days of forcing someone into an asylum and dunking them in cold water are in the past, but the stigma and stereotype still haunt popular culture.
You could ease their fears by offering to look at treatment centers together. Having someone you trust by your side will make anyone feel a lot braver when facing the unknown. Since you have done some research, you can ask questions that someone who has never interacted with mental health professionals would even think to ask. Any time your loved one feels uncomfortable or afraid, you can guide them back to where they feel safe. Be someone they can trust, and they will appreciate you for it.
Nobody has ever recovered when forced into treatment. Treatment only works if a person has the desire to get better and improve their quality of life. By being pushy and insistent, you will drive away your loved one who will see you as someone that does not respect their wishes and boundaries. Instead, offer gentle nudges. You may begin by asking if they are alright and if they would like to hear your suggestions. Choices are extremely important to people, so never take away their power to choose. Always make statements that are not judgmental and offer the person a chance to make their input.
A bad example of this would be: “First thing tomorrow, I’m taking you to a therapist regardless if you want to or not. I’m tired of you being a crybaby, so you better pull up your bootstraps and get some help or else.”
A good example of this would be: “Hey, I noticed that you have been sad for a while now. I wish I could help more, but it might be time to look for professional help. If you like, I can help you look for something that may make you feel better. Regardless, I love you and I’ll always be here for you.”
Remind Them of How Much They Mean to You
No matter what, always let your loved ones know that you love them and that they deserve to have a happy life. Sometimes people feel like they are not deserving of love and care, and constant reassurances are often needed to help break through such negative thinking. Having this source of strength is what people need to get the bravery to reach out for help.
Sometimes It’s Hard
In cases where someone is actively harming themselves, you will need to have hard conversations. Despite how much you love someone, you need to set your boundaries and keep them. You cannot pour water out of an empty cup, and the same thing applies to trying to help someone who refuses it. Sometimes people do not see how destructive their life has become until someone outright tells them, either by one through one-on-one conversation or by holding an intervention.
Be prepared to deal with several emotions as you lay your heart out to your loved one. Again, it is still someone’s choice to seek help or not, but you are allowed to protect yourself at the same time. If you have to back away for a bit, so be it, but always let the person know that you love them.
Talking to a loved one may be one of the most difficult things you can ever do, but it is worth it when you know that they will get the help and care that they need to be happy again.
One of the hardest things in the world is to know that someone you love needs help but refuses to actively look for it. You may not know what to do next, or if there is anything you can do. Here at Acera Health in Costa Mesa, California, we employ professionals in the mental health field that can give you advice on how to convince your loved one to seek help.
We are more than happy to give you the education and resources you need to help the people you love. We are also always there to answer questions and provide a safe place to explore what it means to seek treatment for a mental health disorder. You don’t have to do everything by yourself.
Call (949) 649-2339 today to speak with our staff on how to best let your loved one find healing.
Melody is a highly skilled proactive clinical administrator, with more than 17 years of experience serving the community in the behavioral health field.
Her clinical management career started in 2011 as a compliance manager and program director. In 2018, she became an executive as chief clinical officer (CCO). She is a seasoned licensed marriage & family therapist.