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Be found at the exact moment they are searching. Up and Get Listed. If you are a parent, guardian, friend, intimate partner, or loved one of someone who is going through a difficult time and needs therapeutic assistance, it can be challenging to know how, exactly, to go about helping. With mental health concerns affecting as many as one in four adults and one in ten children, access to effective care is critical. The good news is that therapeutic treatments have a high success rate; unfortunately, only about one out of three people seek help for themselves.
If you love someone who is experiencing psychological distress and needs support and assistance beyond what you can provide, the tips and resources below can guide you to finding the right kind of help. Though it may be obvious to you that someone you love needs professional help, there are many reasons why your loved one may refuse or feel reluctant to get treatment. Some people may not have access to quality mental health care, and others may avoid therapy for fear of being considered "weak" or "crazy" by those who stigmatize therapy.
A person may have religious or cultural beliefs that keep them from seeking professional assistance, or perhaps they have had a negative therapy experience in the past.
Exploring the reasons why someone may avoid treatment can be a good place to start, as well as normalizing mental health issues and treatment. Millions of people all around the world seek help for mental heath issues in order to improve their overall health, well-being, and happiness. Severe depression, posttraumatic stress, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicidal ideation are examples of issues that warrant intervention.
Some s of psychological distress to watch for, as outlined by the American Psychological Association, include:. Children and adolescents who face mental health issues are especially unlikely to seek therapy without the intervention of an adult, and they may not understand the nature of their symptoms. Most children are not yet accustomed to taking charge of their own health issues, although there are exceptions, especially in the teenage years.
Even a self-sufficient teenager, however, may shy away from seeking mental health treatment due to stigma or a lack of awareness and accessibility of available treatment options. Parents or guardians of minors in distress can offer unconditional love and support, and may also schedule an appointment with a d mental health professional for the minor as needed.
Counseling allows to openly and unashamedly work through challenging thoughts, emotionsand behaviors under the guidance of someone who is trained to treat psychological concerns.
Teachers and school staff may also initiate the process of finding help for youth. Most schools have at least one counselor on staff who can see students on a regular basis. A school counselor should also be able to provide referrals if needs additional support outside of the school setting. Ideally, a parent or guardian will be the one to make an appointment with a d professional, but if the student appears to be in danger or experiencing abuse, a school counselor may have grounds to reach out to other professionals on behalf of the.
If the issues your child is experiencing are related to household or family issues, family therapy can be a beneficial treatment option, whether on its own or in combination with individual therapy sessions. A family therapist will work with the family as a unit to examine family dynamics, improve relationships within the family, and address family members' symptoms.
If your child has a diagnosed mental health condition that warrants medication, you can consult with your child's pediatrician or psychiatrist to discuss psychotropic medication. Due to the risk of unwanted side effects in children and teenagers who use psychotropic medications, these medications are often prescribed as a last resort and in conjunction with other types of treatment such as counseling.
Client confidentiality is an important aspect of counseling. With children, parents and guardians typically are granted access to records and information regarding their children's therapy sessions. The rules of disclosure vary by state, but in some cases, a minor may elect to make his or her mental health records confidential so that parents or guardians will not be able to access the information. In some states, these protections against disclosure are only applicable if there is reasonable belief of some form of abuse taking place.
Additional information on parent and minor rights can be found on the United Civil Rights Councils' website. Questions about kids and therapy answered by real therapists on Dear GoodTherapy :. Sometimes, a friend or family member who is going through a hard time simply needs someone like you to ask questions and listen closely to what he or she is experiencing. Other times, it is important to encourage loved ones to seek professional treatment, especially if their behavior compromises their ability to care for themselves on a day-to-day basis.
In such cases, it can be difficult to know how to initiate a conversation and what to say. Often, therapeutic intervention is needed. Once your friend or family member decides to seek mental health treatment, you may need to help him or her to schedule an appointment with a d mental health professional, and possibly even accompany him or her to the first session.
As he or she moves through the healing process, you might find it helpful to have conversations about how you can best offer support. Is it helpful for you to remain in close contact? Or does he or she need some space during treatment? Often one of the most supportive things you can do for someone is to remain nonjudgmental as they go through the healing process. Also, remember to look after your own needs when you are supporting someone else. Questions answered by therapists from Dear GoodTherapy :. The same general ideas apply when approaching an intimate partner about seeking treatment.
Express your concern, listen closely, encourage your partner to seek help, and, even more so than with a family member or friend, expect that you may be asked to attend counseling sessions alongside your loved one. A person in a relationship can pursue individual therapy sessions or couples therapyand choosing between the two depends on the nature of the issue s. Is your partner experiencing depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress, or another condition that would benefit from individual therapy?
Or are you hoping to get some help with communication, sexual functioning, or intimacy as a couple? Questions like these will help you assess the best mode of therapy for you and your partner. The GoodTherapy Blog offers valuable insight and advice for people who wish to encourage an ambivalent partner to try therapy:.
If you believe that someone is in danger of hurting themselves or others or is experiencing a life-threatening emergency, it is important to take action without hesitation. In extreme cases, involuntary or emergency hospitalization of a person may be necessary. If an emergency has not yet occurred and you feel your loved one is experiencing severe mental health issues and is in need of inpatient or outpatient treatment, you can petition a court-ordered civil commitment. Information and guidelines regarding who can initiate a court-ordered psychiatric intervention in your state are available through the Treatment Advocacy Center.
If a person is not in imminent danger, there are many other ways you can help a loved one who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts; for example, by encouraging them to find the right therapist and listening with empathy. If you or someone you know would like to find a therapist or mental health professional in your area, you can start by searching for a therapist on GoodTherapy or calling Other ways to find a therapist may include asking for recommendations or referrals from other professionals, such as your family doctor. You can also search for therapists on the Internet, in the phone book, and through your insurance provider.
Most mental health professionals will provide a free phone consultation prior to treatment. You can ask questions about the therapy process and the therapist, and discuss the issues you hope to address in therapy. If someone you know is having trouble with addiction or substance abuse, understanding the best way to help them can be difficult.
Sometimes, a loved one facing addiction may not want to discuss what they are going through with you, which can be frustrating when you are concerned for them. In these cases, an intervention may be an effective way to encourage the person to consider seeking help. Even when a person realizes they need help, researching available treatment options for addiction can be confusing and overwhelming.
When someone you know is ready to seek treatment through rehab, you can help by supporting them in the process of finding a treatment centerand sharing resources that will allow them to make an informed decision about the treatment plan they choose. Important things to consider as you search for a rehab facility include the inpatient and outpatient programs they offer, duration of the treatment, location, cost, insurance coverage, and the programs, classes, or amenities provided by the facility. Mental health professionals who meet our membership requirements can take advantage of benefits such as:.
Get Listed. How to Listen Supportively to a Friend in Need. Suicide Risk Factors and Warning s. Last Update: GoodTherapy! Mental health professionals who meet our membership requirements can take advantage of benefits such as: Client referrals Continuing education credits Publication and media opportunities Marketing resources and webinars Special discounts Learn More. Notice to users GoodTherapy is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, medication, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition.
GoodTherapy is not authorized to make recommendations about medication or serve as a substitute for professional advice. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on GoodTherapy.
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