How to Encourage a Loved One or Family Member to See a Psychiatrist
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How to Encourage a Loved One or Family Member to See a Psychiatrist

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It can be heartbreaking and overwhelming to watch a loved one struggle with their mental health. You’re doing the right thing by learning more about how to support them. It’s important to understand that you can’t force someone into mental health treatment. But that doesn’t mean they won’t ever get the help they need. 

If your loved one is in danger of hurting themselves or others, call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988. 

There is hope that your loved one can get through this difficult time, and you can help them. Keep reading to learn more about what you can do.

How can I encourage a loved one or family member to see a psychiatrist?

Mental health is an important aspect of our overall health and well-being. We all need different types of support at different times in our lives. When you’re worried about a friend or loved one, one of the best ways you can help them is to simply remind them that you care. Even if you think they should see a psychiatrist, recognize that your first priority is opening up an honest conversation about mental health. Offer a listening ear along with your personal and emotional support before making any suggestions about what they should do.

Your role as a support person is important, and you can do a lot for your loved one that clinical professionals can’t. If they don’t want to seek professional help right now, you can learn about their reasons for this and try to empathize with them. Ask about some practical things you can help with, like preparing meals or researching treatment options. 

Maintaining mental wellness is a lifelong project. To support your loved ones in the long term, you’ll need to care for yourself and set some boundaries. Try to do this with compassion for both yourself and your loved one. 

How can I support a loved one during a mental health crisis?

Some serious mental health situations need immediate attention. If you’re noticing signs that your loved one may be experiencing psychosis or at risk for harming themselves or others, there are a few ways you can respond. Psychosis is when a person experiences reality differently than others. It can involve delusions, which are strong beliefs that aren’t true, or hallucinations like hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there. But be aware that these symptoms can look different from one person to another.

The first thing to do is determine if you can safely get your loved one to the nearest hospital emergency room. Your community may also have crisis stabilization units that can provide specialized mental health emergency care. If you can’t safely help your loved one access these resources, call 911 and ask if they have a mental health crisis response team. 

Why are autonomy and consent important in the context of mental health?

Every adult has the right to decide for themselves what types of treatment they receive and when. When this right is threatened or people are forced into treatment without consent, the treatments they receive typically aren’t as effective. Some states have laws that make exceptions for emergency situations, but these are controversial and may not result in the best treatment outcomes.

To ensure that your loved one gets the best treatment experience, you can help make sure they feel heard and understood throughout the process. If they are open to it, a mental health assessment with a licensed clinician is an objective way to get a professional’s unbiased opinion about what might be happening and what treatments may help. If they’ve worked with a care team or a clinical professional in the past, they may be able to provide some guidance.

How can I help a loved one who doesn’t want treatment?

There are many reasons why people may choose not to pursue treatment. They may be worried about social stigmas attached to seeking care, afraid of going into an unknown situation, or unable to cover the cost of treatment. They may have had a bad experience with a provider in the past. If they’re not ready to seek help right now, that doesn’t mean you have to stop supporting them. Do your best to understand the situation from their point of view. Seek out the support you need and work on maintaining boundaries to protect yourself and your energy.

Give and receive support in Lightfully’s welcoming treatment community

Your loved one is fortunate to have a caring person like you on their side. At Lightfully, close friends and family members are integral parts of our clients’ care teams and support systems. Each program includes weekly family therapy sessions. We also hold support groups where families can share what they’re feeling and learn from others who are on their own mental health journeys.

More than anything, our programs put the individual at the center of their own personalized holistic treatment plan. Our licensed clinicians have a lot of compassion for those who are bravely opening up to get help with difficult situations.

We’re here to listen and help you with next steps. Feel free to contact us with any questions. If you’re ready to move forward, our Admissions Concierge Team can help set up an initial assessment.

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