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Strategies For Getting Someone Mental Help When They Refuse


Alter Behavioral Health Can Help in California

Not everyone visits a healthcare provider when they have a problem. That’s especially true when people face mental health symptoms. Many people still associate mental health conditions with stigma. That’s unfortunate because many mental health disorders are treatable — quite treatable, and getting someone mental help and treatment can improve their life substantially. People can get support to effectively manage their condition and achieve improved symptom relief and well-being.

Alter Behavioral Health treats various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and more. If you are living with a mental health disorder, it’s important to seek treatment to prevent the condition from worsening and to stop symptoms from growing in severity. Our clinicians individualize treatment to ensure that each person gets the support they need.


Understanding the Reasons for Refusal

However, we can’t help someone unless they visit us. It can be extremely frustrating if you know someone who refuses to get mental health help. The challenge of convincing someone to seek mental health treatment is difficult when individuals don’t recognize that they have a problem or if they believe mental illness is something to hide. Stigma frequently plays a role in a person’s refusal to seek treatment for their condition.

Here, we’ll outline strategies for convincing people to seek professional psychiatric treatment when they need help. When someone refuses to get help, there are methods you can employ to try to convince them to give mental health treatment a try. We’ll explore here.

Recognizing Mental Illness

It’s not always easy to recognize the symptoms of mental illness and get someone mentally unstable, mental health treatment. Of course, signs and symptoms vary depending on the condition in question. Mental health disorders tend to be highly complex conditions with subtle signs that may be difficult for anyone but a mental health provider to note. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of mental health disorders include:

  • Excessive or persistent worries and fears.
  • Feeling sad or depressed.
  • Confusion or inability to concentrate.
  • Extreme mood fluctuations with highs and lows.
  • Withdrawing from family and friends.
  • Low energy and insomnia.
  • Difficulty focusing on daily problems.
  • Problems with drugs and alcohol.
  • Changes in eating habits.
  • Suicidal thoughts.
  • Feeling excessively angry or hostile.
  • Detached from reality — experiencing delusions or hallucinations.

The Role of Stigma in Refusing Mental Help

When they notice signs of mental illness, the best thing to do is visit their doctor or mental healthcare provider. One of the reasons that patients do not seek mental healthcare is because of the stigma associated with mental health disorders. There is a societal stigma that persists in some places. People worry about being increasingly scrutinized at work if their illness becomes known. They may worry about losing their job or being passed over for promotion. 

There are other societal concerns too. Some people may worry that their illness could prevent them from caring for children or other family members. Instead of getting help, they may tend to hide the condition more strenuously. People may also worry that once they’re labeled as mentally ill, they’ll never outgrow that label — or the stigma.

On the other hand, it’s important to combat the stubborn stigma associated with mental health. Why? Because, at some point, 1 in 5 people will suffer from a clinical bout of mental illness, whether depression, anxiety, or something else. Mental illness, like physical illness, is part of the human condition. The stigma only contributes to poor mental health; getting treatment improves mental health just like when a person visits the doctor for help dealing with a physical problem. Each person needs to banish the idea of ‘stigma’ as they maintain or get help improving their mental health. The stigma only perpetuates unnecessary suffering.


Strategies for Overcoming Resistance to Mental Health Treatment

To help a friend or loved one get the professional help they need, it’s important to do your research first and plan ahead. Rather than react emotionally to the issue, be prepared to calmly discuss their reasons for getting help and help them see a better future ahead.

Still, every person is different, including their past histories, current issues, and future goals, and it’s crucial to factor in those individual traits and feelings when coming up with a plan. Here are some strategies that can help.

Tips for Approaching Mental Health Conversations

If you have a family member or friend who is resistant to the idea of seeking mental health, you may wish to start a conversation about why talking about it could help. You can encourage mental health awareness simply by having a conversation about it. Let your loved one know that they can confide in you; that you are willing to listen without judgment. Many mental health symptoms can be improved simply by talking. You can help alleviate some of your loved one’s suffering by listening actively. 

Of course, many people with mental health disorders need clinical support, including medication and psychotherapy. As a non-mental health professional, your support can only go so far. At some point in your conversations, you might want to acknowledge that. However, it’s immensely beneficial for you to be a safe helper for your family member or friend. When they know they can trust you to listen, they may eventually become willing to listen to your advice too.


Encouraging Professional Help for Mental Illness

Unless you are a mental health professional, you’re unlikely to be able to help your loved one achieve a level of symptom relief that can significantly improve their quality of life. Psychiatric professionals rely on evidence-based treatments that are safe and have been proven effective for the treatment of various mental health disorders. 

When a person stubbornly refuses to seek treatment for their mental health condition, you may be unable to convince them with one conversation. You may want to begin your conversation by discussing what mental health practitioners do. Often, when a person refuses to see a mental health provider, they don’t actually know what happens in treatment sessions. Educate yourself to explain what types of treatments are available for the symptoms your loved one is experiencing. 

Be sure to explain how mental health professionals can dramatically improve mental health outcomes. Let them know what’s at stake by continuing to avoid seeking help. Relationship problems and even job loss could easily accompany continued suffering. Explain the risks of ignoring mental health problems and how serious mental health conditions can quickly worsen. 

By educating yourself about mental illness, you can share your discoveries. Let your loved one know how commonplace mental illness is and how mental health treatment leads to positive outcomes. Education can help remove the fear and stigma your loved one might associate with mental health therapy. Avoid becoming frustrated if you can’t convince your loved one to seek help early in your conversations. Be patient, but also look for signs of condition escalation. There may come a time when you need to take some emergency measures to ensure your loved one’s safety.

Invoking Involuntary Commitment

There may come a point in your loved one’s illness when you believe they are no longer competent to make decisions for themself. If you believe your loved one has become suicidal or hallucinated, you may need to step in and consider an involuntary commitment to get someone mental help when needed. Invoking involuntary commitment is a serious step, and few people relish the idea of denying a person of their freedom and autonomy; however, involuntary commitment might be the only way to help your loved one in extreme situations. 

There are, of course, legal and ethical implications associated with involuntary commitment. Different states have different laws associated with involuntary commitment. If you are considering this measure, you’ll want to discuss your concerns with an accredited treatment facility or hospital like Alter Behavioral Health. Our mental health specialists can discuss when this type of measure may be needed and how to initiate involuntary confinement and treatment for a loved one. 

Mental health support alter behavioral health

Mental Health Resources and Support

Now that you have some more information and tips to discuss with a friend or loved one, it’s important also to know that you’re not alone — and resources and support are available to help you and your friend or loved one through this journey. Read on to learn more about the different tools and services that can help during this time.

Mental Health Support Groups

Professional treatment is an essential route for mental health recovery. However, your loved one can benefit from other forms of mental health support. Mental health support groups can be vital to your loved one’s long-term recovery and successful management of their condition. 

Alter Behavioral Health can help you find the ideal resources and support for your loved one. Support group participation allows people diagnosed with a mental illness to connect with others who are also managing similar conditions and circumstances. It can be a big help for people to know that they aren’t alone and that what they’re struggling with isn’t unique to them. Feeling connected to others can be a lifeline.

It can also be helpful for people with a mental illness to help and support others who are also struggling with mental health symptoms like anxiety or depression. During support group sessions, leaders will often discuss topics that relate to the group as a whole. Participants can talk or listen; they can also provide support for others. It’s not uncommon for people to attend support groups indefinitely as part of their long-term condition maintenance strategy.

There are various support groups and resources in communities today. Popular ones include those for substance abuse addiction like Alcoholics Anonymous. However, many groups meet in reference to other conditions like depression or attention deficit disorder. The National Alliance on Mental Health is a major mental health resource that people suffering from mental illness should know about.

Remember that Alter Behavioral Health can help you locate support groups and resources that are ideally suited to your condition and needs. We feature many on-site resources but can also help our patients find additional resources in their homes or nearby communities.

Navigating Mental Health Resources

Many mental health resources today include suicide hotlines, mental health apps, and community services. Which ones are right for you or your loved one? Let Alter Behavioral Health help you navigate these resources. We can assist you throughout the process as you determine your needs and what resources may satisfy those needs. We’re proud to offer resources in California that can be vital in getting someone mental help.

Alter Behavioral Health is known for providing compassionate, evidence-based care to our patients, and we have a strong record of helping people from all walks of life. Here, we can help you or your loved one. 



FAQs: Strategies for Getting Someone Mental Help When They Refuse

You have questions, and we have answers. Here are some common questions that might come up and some guidance on each issue. If there’s something you’re still wondering about after reading this list, don’t hesitate to contact Alter Behavioral Health to find out more.

What are some effective strategies for getting someone mental help when they refuse?

If you need to convince a loved one to seek mental health care, you can use these strategies to persuade them. Remember, you may not be able to persuade them at once. It may take numerous conversations. 

  • Get educated about mental illness and the symptoms your loved one is experiencing. Then, you can share what you’ve learned with them.
  • Take time to listen. Encourage your loved one to talk about their symptoms. It may help them but also help you understand their struggles so you can help them better.
  • Talk about the benefits of mental health treatment and how far professional treatment has come. 
  • Talk about challenging the stigma of mental health. Explain that the stigma is beginning to disappear in many places as people become aware of how prevalent mental illness is and how crucial it is to get help.

How do I approach someone who refuses mental help without causing further resistance?

If someone you love stubbornly refuses to get help, don’t aggravate them. Instead, visit them and listen. It’s great support to monitor them. There may come a time when you have to take steps to commit them for their own protection involuntarily.

Are there alternative approaches to traditional therapy that can be helpful for someone who refuses mental help?

You can encourage your loved one to try some alternative or holistic therapies that may help. For instance, many people benefit from yoga or meditation. However, these therapies may not be nearly as effective as professional mental health treatment.

How can I build trust and open communication with someone who is resistant to seeking mental help?

Simply listening to your loved one can help you build trust. Give honest advice but be sure to listen. 

What resources are available for supporting reluctant individuals in seeking mental help?

Visit Alter Behavioral Health for assistance if you have a loved one who is resistant to professional help.

Q6: How can I involve friends and family in the process of getting someone mental help when they refuse?

Talk to friends and family. Explain your concerns and develop a plan to support the loved one.

What should I do if the person I’m trying to help refuses all forms of treatment or therapy?

Continue to monitor your loved one. If they reach a point where they become unable to care for themselves or are in danger of hurting themselves or someone else, you may need to commit them involuntarily. 

Are there community organizations or support groups that can assist in getting someone mental help?

There are various community and national resources that can provide support. Contact Alter Behavioral Health for local, state, and national resources. 

What role does effective communication play in encouraging help-seeking behavior?

Listening and calm discussion are the keys to encouraging a loved one to seek professional mental health treatment.

How can I better understand the reasons behind someone’s refusal to seek mental help?

Often, the stigma of mental illness prevents people from asking for help. Meet with Alter Behavioral Health for professional guidance for supporting your loved one in the best ways.

Call Alter Behavioral Health at 866-647-2716 today to schedule your consultation, or contact our team online.


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