How to Tell Someone They Need Mental Health Therapy - Upp Therapy
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How to Tell Someone They Need Mental Health Therapy

It’s difficult to watch someone struggle with mental health issues knowing they have no support from professional health care experts. You might wonder why someone who you think needs professional help has not sought it out yet. But as with many things in life, its easier to look at a situation more objectively when you’re not going through it yourself.

Telling someone they need mental health therapy is a situation that requires a delicate and empathetic approach. Read on to discover what to do when someone you know needs professional help.

Normalise discussions around mental health

For many social circles, discussing mental health is a taboo subject and going to therapy is something to be ashamed of.

However, nothing can be further from the truth. When speaking to your friend or loved one, emphasise that going to a professional for mental health is no different from going to a doctor for physical health. If you’ve been to therapy before, share your own experiences. Think about what reservations you had before going to therapy, and explain why seeking professional help was so valuable to you.

If you’ve never been to therapy before, find success stories online that are like the person you’re helping, which will help put their minds at ease.

Make sure you’re in a comfortable environment

Staging an intervention is the last thing someone in an emotionally vulnerable place needs. This includes bringing up the topic in a public setting or at an event.

Suggesting therapy is a sensitive topic which is bound to make a person feel defensive, especially in an uncomfortable environment. Instead, plan to bring up the topic in a comfortable, relaxed, and private situation. If the person is younger, texting instead of having a one-on-one conversation might be more comfortable for them.

Anticipate their concerns

Try to anticipate any concerns they might bring up beforehand, and research solutions. Factors like cost, time or transportation are common barriers to getting professional help. By offering ideas on how to overcome these issues, your friend or loved one might be more open to getting the help they need.

During the conversation, offer to help find a therapist that will be suited for them. Ask them what kind of therapist they’d feel most comfortable around – which gender, specialisation, age and area are all helpful aspects to clarify.

Explain your reasons for wanting them to find help

Because of the stigmatisation around mental health issues, some people might get offended and defensive as soon as you bring up seeing a therapist. To help bring their guard down, explain in kind and supportive language why you think therapy might be helpful. Be careful not to make accusations or use insensitive language. Make sure the person you are speaking to knows your suggestion is from a place of love and concern, and that they know you don’t think any less of them.

Realising you need professional help is one of the most important steps that a person going through a difficult time can take. However, making this decision is difficult and emotionally taxing. Whatever the outcome of your conversation, continue to be supportive, and allow them to decide for themselves.

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