Mental disorders affect one in four people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. While treatments are widely available, especially for developed countries, only a third of people seek help. This is a major problem, as mental health issues may impair a person as much as physical illnesses do, according to a study by the Mental Health Policy Group. It stated that a person with depression can be 50% more disabled than a person with asthma, diabetes, or arthritis.
If you have a loved one living with mental illness, you need to help them by directing them to a therapist or psychiatrist. However, some people are afraid of getting psychological help or outright reject it. This issue has a variety of factors, including fear of being diagnosed with something and the fear of being judged or stigmatized for their disorder. So, what can you do to encourage your loved one to seek help?
Show Support, No Matter What
Always let your loved one know that you’re there for them. During these dark times, it’s support from people they care about that helps them deal with their illness. Talk with them about the problems they currently experience. Even if you can’t offer advice, being there to listen is enough to show your support. It’s also helpful to use non-stigmatizing language when talking with your loved one.
Terms like “alcohol abuser” imply that the person is the problem, alienating them further. You should instead refer to them as “a person with alcohol use disorder.” Instead of referring to someone as psychotic, say “person living (or experiencing) psychosis.” This kind of language shows that you don’t put blame on your loved one for their problem.
Confront Them Privately
If you feel that your loved one a needs immediate help, confront them in the right conditions. Don’t start the conversation in front of others and don’t invite other people to do it with you. You don’t want your loved one to feel like you’re ganging up on them. Plus, they’re the ones who should have a say on who knows about their possible condition. Make sure they’re calm and in a peaceful environment, too. You don’t want to add to the distress they may already feel inside.
Prepare for Resistance
Everyone reacts to differently to professional help recommendations. If your loved one is open to it, great! But a lot of people may be resistant and in denial. If they have their own healthy ways to cope, encourage them even more while recommending professional help from experts such as Transitions Recovery Program. If they outright reject your proposal, don’t meet them with hostility or force them. Continue to provide all the support you can.
If it gets difficult or if they become physically hostile, call the authorities and see if your state allows involuntary evaluation or hospitalization. This is a difficult decision to make, but it’s necessary for you and your loved one’s safety.
Living with mental illness is one of the most difficult challenges a person goes through. If you suspect your loved one needs help, use these suggestions to encourage them to go to a professional. While the process may get difficult, it’s all worth it when you see your loved one looking and feeling better.