(9 AM - 8 PM)
8686 139 139
Free and confidential mental health support 8686 139 139

Helping someone seek professional help

Factors that may hold back an individual from seeking help

  • Stigma about being labelled as ‘crazy’ or ‘weak’ for seeking help, eventually leading to fear, shame, embarrassment about not fitting into society
  • Low perceived need for help based on seeing one’s concerns as too small compared to others, or thinking that the problem doesn’t lie with them
  • Preference for self-reliance as seeking help might be seen as being dependent and not having control and power over one’s own life
  • Family beliefs or past experiences about treatment not being helpful
  • Difficulty accessing help due to financial and/or logistical constraints
  • Difficulty identifying and expressing concerns due to limited mental health information, finding it hard to communicate

Forcing an individual to seek help does not work

When individuals are forced to consult a professional even when they’re not ready, they may:
  • Not open up / hide important information / lie
  • Feel fear or defiance
  • Feel resentful on being forced
Hence, encouraging them gently and letting them feel ready to seek help is necessary.

How to help someone get ready to seek help

  • Initiating conversation around mental health to create awareness and sensitivity, and to get an idea about their understanding of mental health
  • Expressing concerns, conveying changes observed in their daily life without sounding judgmental or biased
  • Sharing life stories of people’s experiences dealing with similar distress (while not minimising or comparing) to encourage them and let them know they’re not alone
  • Providing resources such as relevant mental health information, identifying professionals who seem like a good fit, etc.
  • Easing their worries by debunking any myths, nudging them for the initial talk with a professional, accompanying them for their first session, etc.

Ways to support them till they’re ready to seek help

  • Offering unconditional support and helping them the way they want to be helped
  • Lending a hand by helping them plan out their day/tasks or sharing the load of some tasks while being mindful of our own capacity
  • Encouraging them to participate in activities and participating with them
  • Being patient and providing a judgement-free space irrespective of whether they choose to seek help or not
  • Checking in on their well-being, letting them know that we’re here if they need
  • Keeping resources ready like safety kits, anxiety toolkits, basic breathing exercises to help calm them down in the face of any distress

Being mindful of one’s limitations

  • Understanding our limitsand reducing pressure on ourselves as we can’t replace the help provided by professionals (except taking steps to ensure safety)
  • Keeping a check on our feelings as the process can bring in feelings of frustration, exhaustion, helplessness, etc. and it is important to take care of ourselves too
  • Noticing changes in our physical health/daily functioning as caregiving can affect our health and productivity
  • Taking a break even if it feels selfish
  • Asking for help and sharing responsibility with others and not looking at it as us being less dependable
  • Creating boundaries and choosing how we wish to help others
  • Seeking support when it’s becoming very difficult to manage our own mental health
Call our helpline or email us if you are struggling with taking care of someone and feeling stressed yourself.