Trying to convince someone to get mental health help? Remember these tips

Some of the top mental health groups in the country agree on the following advice

Mental Health (Infogram)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Needing mental health help is hard, but recognizing that someone you care about is struggling and not getting the help they need may be harder.

Sometimes people don’t know they need help. Sometimes they don’t know but are afraid to get help or don’t know how. And sometimes people downright refuse to get help.

There is really no one way to convince someone to seek therapy or treatment to improve their mental wellness. Everyone is different, and every case is special.

But many of the top mental health care groups in the country, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and other groups agree there are a few things you should do when talking to a loved one about mental wellness.

There’s a time and a place for everything

Interventions with a group of family and friends may work great on TV, but they may not be right for your loved one. Instead, consider a private setting with few distractions or things that can set them off. Avoid looking like you’re ganging up on your loved one.

Make sure the person is in a mood that is not conducive to irritability, i.e. bad, tired, busy, etc. You want them to feel they are in a safe, relaxed environment where they can trust you to be open to them.

[RELATED: How to get mental health help in Central Florida]

Be concerned. Be clear. Don’t be negative.

Tell the person that you’ve been worried about them. Point out the positive things about them that make you want to help them. Ask if they’re willing to talk to you about how they are feeling. Ask how you can help them. Talk about why you’re worried – point to specific examples of concern.

You want them to talk to you, but they may not be willing to. Try to remind them about your relationship and how important they are to you. But don’t give them an ultimatum. Don’t force the issue in the first conversation. Ask if you can help them find someone else to talk to, if they are open to it.

Just listen.

If they are willing to talk, let them talk. Don’t interrupt. If they say something about you, don’t get defensive. Just listen, keep an open mind, offer no judgment.

Also, don’t try to offer advice without them asking for it.

How can I help?

Remember, you don’t want to be forceful. But you should be ready and willing to help them explore what they can do. That may not involve tackling a mental illness directly right away. It may be about reducing things that trigger their issues – taking things off their plate, making adjustments to their work-life balance, etc. If they are willing to seek therapy, offer to help them find a good one. If they are afraid to go to an appointment, offer to go with them.

Above all – take what they say seriously.

Mental health issues are not “all in your head,” not something people just need to get over, and no, just because some people might feel anxious or depressed sometimes doesn’t mean it’s the same as what your loved one is going through.

If you don’t know much about mental health and conditions, learn before you approach your friend. Minimizing their symptoms or feelings, telling them the world is not so bad, is not going to make them feel better. In fact, it could make them feel worse.

Don’t give up.

Now may not be the time. Maybe another time will be better. Don’t nag, but don’t stop caring. It matters to them, whether they acknowledge it, that you care enough to ask. And if the symptoms seem to worsen and become dangerous, seek help yourself.

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About the Author:

Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.