Sometimes it can feel impossible to ask for help, especially when it comes to our mental health. But there are certain steps you can take to make it slightly better.
Asking for help with our mental health is one of the hardest but most important decisions we could ever make in our lives. As previously discussed there can be a number of barriers stopping us from asking for help, however, the importance far outweighs any of these.
“A problem shared is a problem halved.”
When it comes to our mental health there are various ways we can ask for help, however, these can be rather scary. Luckily there are a number of ways you can better prepare yourself to do the seemingly impossible.
Signs that you may need help;
There are are a number of different reasons that may coax us into talking about our mental health. This isn’t a collective list, however, these are some of the most common.
- Feeling noticeably more worried or anxious.
- A general feeling of unhappiness or discomfort in regards to various areas in your life.
- No longer feeling joy from things you previously would have felt joy from.
- Experiencing hallucinations and dissociation.
- The urge to self-harm or hurt yourself.
- Suicidal thoughts; Either passive or active.
You don’t need to be in crisis in order to get support, and in fact, it’s better to get help with your mental health before it reaches crisis point.
For more information on a crisis and what to do see the penultimate section of this post.
5 Things To Remember When Asking For Help With Mental Health;
The first step in asking for help is realising and accepting that you need it. Without acceptance, you have denial, which will only stand in the way of you accessing the help you need.
If you’re struggling to function on a day to day basis, if you’re constantly unable to cope due to anxiety, if you’re having suicidal thoughts; Then you need and deserve help. Don’t let your inner voice convince you otherwise.
A support system is paramount in receiving and maintaining an adequate level of help. Think about your circle; Who can you talk to and go to in an emergency? Friends? Family? Colleagues? Medical professionals?
Time & Place;
If you’re opening up to a friend for the first time it’s important that you’re comfortable and relaxed. It’s a good idea to invite them over to your own space, or if there is somewhere else where you feel comfortable, that works too. As long as you are relaxed and comfortable enough to be completely, 100% honest about your mental health.
When going to see your health care provider take your partner, friend or a family member with you to the meeting if at all possible. Going to the doctor is far from a comfortable experience and often it can be hard to find the words under pressure. That’s where a friend or family member can step in with support, and they may even be able to answer some of the GP’s questions.
When asked how you’ve been feeling or what’s been going on, DON’T LIE.
“I’m fine” shouldn’t come into it, not if you’re really serious about getting help. Instead, explain what’s been going on as best you can. No matter how melodramatic it may seem in your head, just push that aside and address the issue for what it is; A mental health issue.
Know what you need;
What are you expecting to achieve from reaching out for help? Obviously, help is one of them, but what sort of help? Medication, a referral, counseling? Don’t be afraid to be assertive and out-right ask for these things.
If you’re seeing a GP be sure to ask questions about help available both in regards to your mental health and any external support you might need. It can help to go in with a list of pre-decided questions!
Getting Help In A Mental Health Crisis;
What is a crisis?
A crisis occurs when you feel that your mental health is a breaking point, and you no longer think you can keep yourself safe. This may mean that you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, thoughts of injuring yourself, extreme panic attacks, episodes of psychosis, etc.
No matter what you’re experiencing and why;
It’s okay to ask for help!
What do I do?
If mental health crises are common or more likely due to a pre-determined diagnosis, then I would advise creating a crisis plan. You can find ideas for you plan in the following text.
If you’re experiencing a crisis there are many things you can do to help yourself. It’s important to remember that different things work for different people, therefore it’s understandable that some items on this list won’t be within your reach;
- Talk to a trusted family member or friend; If it’s feasible, ask if they would stay with or spend some time.
- Contact you GP; If you’re in an emergency your GP surgery should be able to offer you an immediate, emergency appointment. If this is the case, see above for ways to prepare yourself when going for an appointment.
- Go to your nearest A&E department.
- Contact a helpline via phone, text, email or online webchat; Check out Mind’s list of services.
I hope I was able to shed some light on asking for help with our mental health. It can be very daunting when we first ask for help, but it’s one of the most important things we could choose to do with our lives.
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