Only one in five people suffering from mental disorders seeks help and yet broaching the subject with a loved one can be difficult for many reasons. Since May is Mental Health Month, this is a good opportunity to bring out in the open this often taboo subject. The fear of being told to "mind your own business" can be a big impediment, however, if you are truly concerned about a friend or loved one, the most compassionate action is to express that concern.
HOW TO INTERVENE
1. Learn all you can about the mental health problem concerning you.
2. Clearly outline for yourself the reasons you feel your friend needs help. Notice if the reasons include any "I want you to change so that I won't have to deal with you" statements.
3. Practice stating your reasons in a positive, non-blaming way. It is important to be direct, honest, and compassionate. "I would like us to be closer and to have a more positive relationship, and I see alcohol as getting in the way." Instead of, "You're an alcoholic and you need help now!"
4. Prepare for your friend's reaction.
Talk with several therapists who specialize in counseling this issue. Learn about the treatment options in order to help make starting the process easier for your friend.
5. Consider what you will do if you are not successful.
Try to foresee the best possible reaction on your part.
6. Create a special time to convey the desire to get help.
Approach your friend by saying you would like to set some time aside to talk about something important and, "When would be good for you?" Then, express how important he or she is to you and the reasons you feel there could be a benefit from counseling (don't say what your friend is doing wrong). There is hope!
Let's all make it commonplace to reach out to others and say, "How are things really going for you...I'm not just asking to make conversation...I'd really like to know if everything is alright with you...and I care about you." Our web site, www.1-800-THERAPIST.com has a much more detailed version of these intervention steps and many self help tools, articles, and information to assist in the process of locating a local mental health specialist.
Dr. Kevin Grold
Please visit www.1-800-THERAPIST.com for a more detailed version of these intervention steps and many self help tools, articles, and information to assist in the process of locating a local mental health specialist.
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