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What to Do If You’re Scared to Seek Help for Your Mental Health

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If you haven’t sought out help for your health in a while, deciding to look for someone to help you can feel daunting. If your family is against certain types of help, you might also have difficulty going against their wishes, especially if you’re close or they’re particularly firm about their beliefs. No matter why you feel afraid to seek out help, though, there are still plenty of ways to decide on and find the help you’re looking for.

If you’re afraid to seek out health help, ask yourself why. Are you worried you’ll face retribution from your loved ones or it might not be a safe option for you? Are you concerned you won’t be able to afford the help you need? Are you fearful of how the stigma surrounding your condition or certain types of treatment might affect how society perceives you? Once you identify what specifically scares you and how others might play into your fears, you can decide how to move forward.

If you feel like it’s safe to discuss your potential concerns with family or friends, try opening up to them about what you’re planning on doing, why you’re seeking help now, and why you may feel hesitant to take the next step. Supportive family and friends could reassure you your health comes first and it’s OK to admit you can’t fully cope with it on your own. They may also remind you even if you look for some extra help for your physical or mental health, you’re still the same incredible person, and they won’t walk away as you navigate this process. When you open up about the decisions you’re facing, you may find the reassurance you need to take steps to improve your health.

If you’re afraid to seek out help because it feels financially inaccessible, consider using resources that can inexpensively provide you with what you need. If your primary concern is cost, look into providers that accept Medicaid or Medicare, or see if you qualify for Social Security benefits. There are a myriad of programs that can help low-income individuals and families access insurance and pay off medical bills. And some providers — particularly mental health providers — offer services on a “sliding scale” based on your finances. Once you find a program you qualify for or a service you can afford, you may feel like accessing health care for your medical condition is within your reach.

If your biggest barrier to seeking out health help is your family’s reaction or your sense of personal safety at home, feeling afraid of getting help is natural, but accessing the help you need is still possible. If you’re able to access a safer location with internet access, you may ultimately be able to have a telehealth consultation with a health care provider. There are also a variety of confidential mental health resources that can help you discretely process your relationship with your family, work through suicidal thoughts, or help you as you come to terms with your LGBTQIA+ identity.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline, the National Sexual Assault Hotline, the Crisis Text Line, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and the Trevor Project’s TrevorLifeline are all great options.

Many of these resources also have text- or chat-based options that can help you stay more discrete if you’re nervous about talking on the phone in close proximity to your family. Looking into options besides formal medical or therapy appointments can help you safely, confidentially get the support you need — and there are plenty of options for you to choose from.

No matter why you may be afraid to get help for your health, you can find encouragement and resources that will ultimately provide you with the health support you need. Feeling afraid to ask for help is perfectly natural, but if you know you need help, you can still assuage your fears and take that next step toward better physical and mental health.

Unsplash image by Erik Mclean

Originally published: September 29, 2021
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