Mental health illnesses can be very harmful to a person’s life. While awareness of mental health conditions is growing, people need time to come to terms with their mental health concerns and begin seeking treatment.
Our culture is so deeply ingrained in self-reliance that seeking help for your mental health is seen as a sign of weakness and leaves one feeling vulnerable. Furthermore, factors such as a lack of rationality about one’s mental condition, a lack of awareness about mental health disorders, and the stigma associated with mental health conditions discourage people from seeking professional help.
Reaching out and convincing a loved one to seek professional help is the best thing you can do to help them heal. However, it can be a difficult situation to navigate. And so, we talked to Ms. Shaili Mehta Sonani, intern psychologist at Veda rehabilitation and wellness to explain how to handle this delicate conversation and to encourage your loved one to seek professional help. This is what he had to say:
Ms. Shaili Mehta Sonani, Internal Psychologist, Veda Rehab & Wellness
1. Choose the correct place and time
Avoid having the conversation in front of other people or when they are in a bad mood, tired, or doing something important. It is important to have the conversation in private and in the right place and time.
2. Prepare them for the conversation
Letting your loved one know in advance that you want to have a conversation with him is a big step. It will help them focus their attention on the conversation and take the matter seriously.
3. Use non-stigmatizing language
The stigma associated with mental health is real. It is very important to use non-stigmatizing language and acknowledge their distress at having this very important conversation to help them understand the idea of seeking help.
4. Avoid giving ultimatums
You need to encourage your loved ones to seek professional help and not force them to do so. Giving ultimatums can increase their distress and put unwanted additional pressure on them.
5. Show support and empathy
Reach out to your loved one who comes from a place of caring and empathy. Don’t blame them for your problems. Instead, encourage them to be kind to themselves. Let him know that you are having this conversation because you are concerned.
6. Be prepared for resistance
You must be prepared for resistance when approaching someone for professional help. They may resist the idea of seeking therapy, become defensive, and take offense. Try to highlight the importance of seeking help. Let them know that they are important to you and this will benefit your relationship with them.
7. Share your personal experience
If you have been to therapy, share your personal experience with them. This will go a long way towards normalizing the search for professional help. Tell them how the therapy was for you, how confidential it is, and how seeking professional help has benefited you.
8. Facilitate treatment
To truly help a loved one, what you need to offer is meaningful support. You may need to help them find the right mental health professional for them and book an appointment. Offer to accompany them to the therapist’s office if they wish. Check with them if they have any help with practical barriers like cost, time, commute, severe symptoms, disability, etc.
9. Offer a variety of treatment options
The proper treatment can vary for different people. Help them by sharing details of different anonymous and confidential hotlines, in-person professionals, online therapists, psychiatrists, support groups, volunteer-run services, etc. This will help them choose the treatment they are comfortable with.
Check if you have any doubts about the treatment and try to solve them. Ask them how your date was. However, be sure not to ask prying questions about the counseling unless they want to share it.
Seeking professional help to work on your mental health takes strength and courage. However, with the right support, it can be a life-changing experience. Encourage your loved one to have a counseling experience at an established rehab center, such as Veda Rehabilitation & Wellness, which operates with a team of world-class professionals and offers a supportive and caring environment to assist with their healing.
Enjoy the Girls Tribe by MissMalini Application to be part of the conversation.