Every statistical estimate in existence states that tens of millions of people in the United States are currently living with some type of mental health challenge, whether they have been diagnosed or not. What that means on its most basic level is that more than likely, everyone reading this information knows at least one person who is suffering from a mental health condition whether they realize it or not. Mental health help is available, but it’s not always easy to know how to persuade someone to obtain it.
In our final article dedicated to sharing information during Mental Health Awareness Month, our team at SoCal Empowered is going to provide some suggestions for those who want to persuade a friend or loved one to get mental health help but they’re not sure how to do so. We are an Orange County mental health treatment center, so we have these discussions every day. If more people are able to do the same, more people who need mental health help would get it.
1. Find a Quiet Setting
If you’re concerned that someone you care about needs mental health help and you’re convinced that he or she will not take steps to get it on their own, you’ll need to find a way to talk about this with this person. The best way to do so is to find a quiet and comfortable place to have a discussion. You’ll need to avoid distractions as much as possible and you’ll need to make sure that the person you’re talking to is comfortable. This will facilitate a more open and honest conversation that deals with a difficult topic.
2. Speak Softly and Listen Actively
If you’re able to get this conversation started with your friend or loved one, then the next thing you need to do is continue to foster that safe and comfortable environment. Don’t speak loudly and don’t approach the conversation as though you need to dominate it. Instead, speak calmly and softly and gear your energy towards listening. You may not be someone who provides professional mental health help, but merely the act of listening will soothe the person who does need it and you may pick up a thing or two along the way that will prove important.
3. Do Not Push
Obviously, the reason you’re doing this in the first place is because you’re convinced this person needs mental health help as soon as possible. That means that it’s only natural that you’d be antsy and that your instincts would tell you to push this person towards getting that help during this conversation. You need to avoid following those instincts. Even if mental health help is your goal for this person, it should not necessarily be the goal of your first conversation and it should definitely not be your stated reason for talking. Let the person who needs help talk and once again, let him or her know that you’re only there to listen.
4. Do Not Judge
People who need mental health help often think thoughts – or even say things – that do not make sense to others. This is a symptom of the disease in many cases, and yes, this makes it very difficult to push through a calm and rational conversation at times. However, it’s of paramount importance that you do not judge people dealing with mental health challenges, as that’s only going to put them on the defensive. You should also be careful not to minimize what they’re going through. Instead, once again, you need to put forth an air of utter understanding and compassion if you want things to move towards this person getting help.
5. Get Commitment For the Next Step
It may be tempting to have a conversation with someone who needs mental health help and to consider it a failure if that person does not completely commit to seeking treatment. That’s a mistake as well, as persuading someone to (a) admit they have a mental health problem and (b) to get help for it is a very tall order for most people. Don’t get discouraged if the person you care about doesn’t quickly agree to talk to someone. Instead, just try to get some type of commitment for a next step, even if it’s only an agreement to talk again about this soon. It may take some time to get things moving.
How SoCal Empowered Can Help
Suspecting or even being convinced that someone you care about needs mental health help is a very difficult situation to encounter. This is particularly so if that person either doesn’t realize that help is needed or if he or she knows there’s a problem but refuses to deal with it for any number of reasons. All you can do as a friend or a loved one is to be there for that person, to persist in your offers to help however you can and to make the most of your opportunities to guide that person towards getting mental health help when they arise.
If you’re stuck and wondering how to even begin to handle this, you can always reach out to SoCal Empowered. We’ve helped a lot of people receive the mental health help they needed by serving as an Orange County mental health treatment facility. If you talk to us, we’ll be able to help you decide if our inpatient services are the best way to go. If so, we will talk to the insurance company involved to determine coverage before any commitments are made. If not, then we’ll help you find something that will be of help.
All you need to know is that we’re here to listen and to help however we can. You risk nothing by contacting us, so do so today to get yourself or someone you love the help they need.