Asking for help is a significant challenge that many people struggling with mental health crises face. While our society has come a long way in understanding and accepting mental health problems, there’s still a lot of stigmas to overcome. For many people, that stigma creates fear and shame around seeking support.
If you’ve been having a hard time lately, use these five practical tips to help you get the support you deserve.
Give Yourself Some Grace
The first step in getting help is to overcome the stigma within yourself. Take some time to process what you’re feeling and understand that you’re worthy of love and support. Asking for help is not a burden, and the people who care about you will be more than willing to offer support.
Dealing with mental health issues isn’t a sign of weakness or failure; it’s a sign that you’re having a health crisis. Mental health and physical health go hand-in-hand. If you broke your leg, you wouldn’t hesitate to get a pair of crutches, ask a friend to help you out, and visit a doctor. Try to apply the same line of thought to your mental health.
Practice Saying the Words
Once you’ve cut yourself some slack, practice asking for help. You can do this by writing down the words you want to use as a script or practice in the mirror.
It’s normal to feel anxious about asking for support, whether from a friend or a professional. Writing down the words you want to say or practicing them aloud can help you feel more comfortable and prepared.
Ask a Trusted Friend
Start by talking to a trusted friend or colleague about the challenges you’re facing. This person can offer the support you need to get through or to take further steps. Sometimes when we struggle with mental health, we feel like our friends or family don’t care about us. However, it’s often a case of getting so good at hiding those problems that they don’t even know there is a problem. Making them aware is often enough to put you on their radar to check in and offer help as needed.
When choosing a friend to confide in, it’s important to ask someone you can rely on to be supportive. Unfortunately, many people have toxic friends or family members who exacerbate the issue. Avoid confiding in these people, and consider how you can create boundaries to limit their influence on your life as you work through your challenges.
Consider a Professional Service
Working with a professional counselor or seeking quality psychiatric care can be incredibly beneficial when navigating a mental health crisis. If you’ve been struggling for a while, experience intrusive thoughts, or battle with substance abuse, working with a professional is necessary.
One of the biggest barriers to getting professional mental health support is the financial investment involved. Consider looking into additional health coverage if needed, investigating grants and financing options, or searching for government-funded resources to help.
Write Down Your Needs and Obstacles
Finally, write down what you need and what obstacles are standing in your way. For example, if the idea of calling a mental health professional is a barrier for you, ask your trusted friend to handle the phone call for you. If the idea of looking into support options is overwhelming, ask someone to work with you as you navigate the process.
Sometimes, you won’t know what you need to feel better, and that’s OK, too. Communicate this by telling your people what you need in the moment, whether it’s not to be alone or to spend some time outdoors.
Asking for help is an integral first step in managing mental health issues. Talk to a person you trust, seek additional support, and remember to cut yourself some slack. You’re not a burden, you have a place in this world, and you’r