April 11th, 2022

We often hear this question, and the answer is a very difficult one. It takes a lot of love and patience to encourage someone to seek help, and we may not always know what help they need. Most people do not want to hear that they need help, and they especially do not want to hear it from someone close to them. Those in trouble are hoping the people close to them do not notice they are in a bad situation and need help.

➡️It’s essential to have the conversation in a safe place away from the people or places contributing to the problem. Make sure your loved one is comfortable, and before any critical conversations, HALT. Using the acronym HALT, representing hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, we never have essential conversations when either person is experiencing any of these emotions.

Most importantly, approach the subject with love and kindness. Gently tell them how much you care and want to help. Ask them what they want from you or how you can help. If they insist nothing is wrong, share your concerns from your perspective, and don’t pretend you know what they are going through. Remember to use ‘I’ statements as ‘you’ statements can make others defensive and resistant to advice. For instance, you can say, “I see a friend struggling, and I cannot imagine how horrible it would be to feel that angry/scared/anxious/sad every day. I want to help, but I don’t know how. Tell me what I can do.” If they are even a little responsive to your statement, you can begin helping them discover what help they need. Remember, they may not know what they need, so it is vital to listen closely to the struggles they are experiencing.

Together you can come up with some solutions. Brainstorm possible solutions while looking up local resources. Create a safety plan using examples from the internet and encourage professional help. When they have a suggestion you support, praise them, and stick by their side as they take the first steps toward healing.

Shield Bearer is always a support for those struggling with mental disorders and those walking alongside loved ones struggling with difficulties. Let us help you as you help those you love.