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5 Ways to Support a Friend Who Is Hesitant to Seek Mental Health Help

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Do you ever wonder if somebody you know may be struggling with depression and anxiety, but you are not sure?

If so, here are some things to look for when someone you know may be having a difficult time with their mental health.

  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much.
  • Feeling sad and depressed on a regular basis.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Change in eating habits.
  • Talks of suicide.
  • Loss of interest and social withdrawal.
  • Lack of energy and persistent tiredness.
  • Feelings of guilt and regret.
  • Changes in their appearance and behaviors.
  • Increased use of drugs and alcohol.
  • Easily agitated and always irritable.
  • They seem out of touch of what is going on around them.
  • Their physical health starts to go downhill.
  • Frequent mood changes.
  • Excessive fears, worries and anxieties.

One or two of these symptoms alone can’t predict a mental illness, but may indicate a need for further evaluation.

If you think something is going on with someone you know or care about, try to talk to them and encourage them to seek some kind of help if they need it.

Here are five tips for how you can encourage the person you know to seek help for their fears and anxieties.

1. Talk to the person instead of talking at them.

Nobody wants to be lectured or yelled at. The person who is struggling is likely scared and they need some encouragement in overcoming their fears and possible resistance to getting any assistance. Treat the person the way you would want to be treated if the roles were reversed.

2. Find out why the person isn’t seeking help.

Ask the person who is struggling the main reasons why they are hesitant to seek assistance. It might take a few tries, but try to find out what is stopping the person from getting treatment for their mental health problems. Fear and frustration are huge factors for not seeking help.

3. Address the fears the person may have.

Once you get the reasons why the person is hesitant to seek help, the next step is to find the ways to help address the concerns the individual may have. Addressing one’s fears and concerns may encourage the person to take some action.

4. You can’t manage your mental health all by yourself.

A person’s anxieties and other mental health issues can be difficult to manage, and more than likely they will need some support. Remind the person they don’t have to go it alone.

5. Offer to go with them.

It can be very scary for the person to seek the services of a counselor for the first time. The fear of the unknown can be very intimidating. Offer to go with the person as they start the process of getting treatment.

To learn more about Stan’s journey, you can visit his website Managing Fear.

Getty image by nadia_bormotova

Originally published: July 24, 2021
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