Five ways to ask for help with your mental health.

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.

There are many ways to ask for help, but sometimes it feels impossible. Here are some steps you can take to get started.

Asking for help with our mental health is one of the hardest but most important decisions we could ever. There are many ways to ask for help, but there are also many barriers. But, as the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved! No matter how big it might seem!

I’ve often taken many life problems, big and small, to my husband, my best friend, and even a designated therapist. And I’m not ashamed to admit it! However, there was a time I tried to go it alone. I didn’t want or need help from anyone. But, I soon learned the value of asking for help and how it matters more to us than we realise.

It’s not always obvious to us that we need help, however. Sometimes, things just become so played out, that we end up remaining on ‘auto-pilot’ far longer than we should have.

Signs that you may need help.

There are a number of different reasons that lead someone towards asking for help with their mental health. This isn’t a collective list, however, these are some of the most common.

  • Feeling noticeably more worried or anxious.
  • Masking emotional pain with substance abuse.
  • A general feeling of deep unhappiness or discomfort.
  • 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.
  • Feelings of not wanting to be alive anymore.
  • Loss of appetite, fatigue, and physical symptoms due to emotional pain.
  • Suicidal thoughts; Both 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 ways to ask for help with your mental health.

Accept that you need help.

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.

But what does needing help look like? If you’re struggling to function on a day-to-day basis, feeling unable to cope, or if you’re having suicidal thoughts; You both need and deserve help. Don’t let your inner voice convince you otherwise.

Reach out to your key support system.

Before you can reach out to a support system, you need to determine who’s in it. Your support system should consist of trusted family, friends, and maybe even professionals. While you may not be able to choose your GP or family, you can choose the friends you allow into that inner circle. These should be people who make you feel comfortable, and maybe even happy.

Next, you need to reach out. A support system is extremely valuable to our mental health and overall well-being. And are paramount in receiving and maintaining an adequate level of support in times of chaos.

Determine the appropriate 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 open and honest about your mental health.

When going to see your health care provider, you may feel more comfortable taking your partner, friend, or family member. 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.

Be completely honest.

When asked how you’ve been feeling or what’s been going on, be honest. It can feel easier to life or mask our emotions, but those who love you should respect your honesty. You may not wish to inform just anyone of your feelings, and that’s perfectly acceptable. But you shouldn’t be afraid to open up to a mate.

The phrase “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.

Think about 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 outright 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!

Also, be open and ready to accept the help you didn’t know you needed. This can come in the form of alternative medicine, rehabilitation, or something else. An outside perspective often helps us see the bigger picture, and this reveals avenues we weren’t even aware of.


Getting Help In A Mental Health Crisis.

What is a crisis?

A crisis occurs when you feel that your mental health is at 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 your 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;

  1. Talk to a trusted family member or friend. If it’s feasible, ask if they would stay or spend some time with you.
  2. Contact your 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.
  3. Go to your nearest A&E department.
  4. Contact a helpline via phone, text, email, or online web chat.

Have you any other ways to ask for help?

91 comments

  1. A very pertinent post indeed. If we do not hesitate to visit the doctor when we have a stomach ache, I wonder why we find it so difficult to seek help when we have a mind ache. I think the most important issue here is to accept that one needs help. Once this is achieved, it’s already have a big first step towards positivity.

  2. I can see that many people care about the mental health currently. It’s indeed important with us nowadays.
    There are forums that share info about this topic if you need more info or someone to ask about your situation.

  3. Thinking of what you need will help you to be ready for what you need help with. Great tips and although I don’t have it but will keep it in mind. Thank you for sharing!

  4. An absolutely important discussion! You are right. There are more people out there needing help than we are told to believe. Nice article.

  5. I love that you touted honest here. There are some people we absolutely should not have to wear masks with…

  6. This is such an informative and helpful post for anyone who is currently struggling or may struggle in the future. I have been quite fortunate to have loved ones who I can lean on and support me. Thank you for sharing.

    Lauren.

  7. I suffered with depression at the start of the lockdowns in the UK, these steps to recognise and seek help would have been so valuable to me.

    Sound advice and a really encouraging piece that things can get better with a support system, just the strength has to come from within the person to ask for the help.

    Great blog!

    Joseph

  8. Thank you for sharing this. I have recently had to ask for help with this and it took me way too long to admit that I needed it. I definitely should have got the help sooner. Great post.

  9. I usually dwell on such important issues but I would never be able to talk about it with a condition of cause like you.

  10. This was a good informational post – as a middle school teacher, it’s certainly helpful in an age where every student thinks they have a serious mental health concern at the slightest bit of stress or anxiety! I enjoyed it.

  11. Great post. It is so hard to ask for help. I just think about all the side effects of the meds.

  12. Thank you so much for stopping in. It is so, so important that we are open with people and actually allow them into our lives. It can be difficult, but it’s also all too easy to live in isolation.

  13. Living with chronic pain is so difficult, it is soooo important that we not isolate ourselves

  14. It’s very important to share what you are feeling. Without sharing we tend to keep things inside us and it slowly kills us from inside because we didn’t come up with a solution to our problem and it gradually increased.
    Amazing write-up!! ❀

  15. Being honest about your mental health and actually finding a professional you trust and can talk to is so so important! Keep writing, this is a great post x

  16. It has been my pleasure to come by. I am now following your blog. Your content is fantastic! I love what you’re doing here and hope that more and more people will become aware of your site. β™₯

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. Sending many blessings your way today & always!

  17. Thank you so much for stopping in and reading. Asking for help is so important, no matter what stigma is attached. If we refuse to ask for help with our own mental health, then we’re setting ourselves up for failure.

  18. I’m awful at asking for help too, even now when I know it’s importance. It’s just bred into me to be standoff-ish. Thank you for stopping in and reading.

  19. Thank you so much for stopping in and commenting. Mental health really needs to be addressed more. No matter how far we come there always seems to be several steps back.

  20. I am so grateful you have taken the time to write this post. Mental health awareness in our world today still has a long ways to go. There is so much shame people feel when speaking about how they feel openly and honestly. We must address this.

    Mental health is just as important as physical health. When we are sick in our bodies, we seek help. We must do the same when we feel out of control in our minds. Often, people don’t realize just how anxious or depressed they are because they have considered their ‘new norm’ and just try to push through it. Hopelessness is often the result.

    You have so beautifully shared the importance of recognizing symptoms and being aware that there is zero shame in asking for help. God bless you for taking this journey and being open with all you’ve faced ????

  21. Such an informative post. I’ve never really had a problem asking for anything so I had no problem accepting help with my anxiety either tbh but I totally understand why people do struggle. It’s important to know how much support is out there because it can often feel like there’s none x

  22. This is so important. What a great informational article in mental health. I wish more people took all this seriously and acted upon these tips.

  23. Such a great piece. Asking for help can be the hardest thing to do yet it is the biggest step towards healing.

  24. This was such an amazing and important post!!! Thank you so much for being so informative yet sensitive and helpful at the same time. I know this post will help a lot of people and shed some light on how to ask for help. People will listen, you just have to ask <3

    Emily | https://www.thatweirdgirllife.com

  25. I love this so much. I wish this post existed when my mental health was at an all time low but that doesn’t matter because your changing lives either way.

  26. These are some great tips! I love how you’ve explored every angle for myself I know I find it harder to talk to people about problems because I worry about their judgement as I’m someone who is quite high functioning x

    Kayleigh Zara ???? http://www.kayleighzaraa.com

  27. I always find it easier with a loved one there, especially someone that I trust. It’s my number one suggestion for those of us going in to talk about mental health. Thank you so much for reading.

  28. Thank you so much for stopping in and reading. I hope that in the future stigma will be reduced and people won’t be so afraid to talk about their mental health.

  29. Thank you so much for popping in and sharing your story. I have a guest post coming up at the end of the week all about panic attacks and the science behind them, followed later in the month by ways to cope. I hope you pop back in to read them as they’re very insightful and I hope you’ll find some peace in knowing you’re not alone. Panic attacks are hideous things but so often we’re embarrassed to talk about them.

  30. I’m the exact same. I will talk about it no problem, but I don’t want to seem like a burden. That’s so often what stops so many of us from asking for help.

  31. Thank you for reading and commenting Laura! It’s why I love writing posts like this, the knowledge that they might be able to help someone else.

  32. Thank you so much for reading. I’m sorry you felt like you had to hide it, like so many of us often do. I’m glad that you finally managed to open up though. xx

  33. I think you did a marvelous job in reaching out to those of us who suffer from mental illness conditions. I experienced major post-partum depression and even though its been 21 years, I am still taking Welbutrin to this day. My physician says to think of it as ‘preventative medicine’. Thanks for sharing.

  34. That’s an awful way for people to look at it. Just because you might need professional help doesn’t mean you couldn’t use a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. And just because you had help before and didn’t get better doesn’t mean you don’t deserve help again. Considering I’ve read your therapy story, in my opinion, you didn’t get the right help, therefore the professionals should be doing all they can to redeem themselves.

    However, I know that isn’t always the case.

    Sending you much love pet xx

  35. Thank you so much for stopping by and reading. It means the world to me that you would take the time to leave me a wee comment such as this. I’m glad you finally got up the courage to ask for help, it’s never easy no matter who you are. xx

  36. I absolutely love this! I do not think enough people talk about mental health openly. It is great that you mention that you do not have to be in crisis to seek help. It was a battle for me to finally ask for help. My life is getting better every day. Thanks for sharing.

  37. I find it so hard to ask for help. Generally the response from co-workers/friends is that I need professional help and they can’t help me, yet the response I keep getting from the professionals is that I don’t deserve any more help because I had help before and didn’t get better.

    I always pray that others get a better response than I have,

  38. I did the silly thing of keeping things bottled up and it wasn’t until I was hysterically sobbing at my Mum that I realised I needed help. It’s so easy to just say “I’m fine” because we instantly assume people don’t want to be burdened with our problems but actually being on honest about how we’re feeling can make such a difference. Great post as always, really informative and I think it will be so helpful to people who want to get help but don’t know how to approach the subject! Xx

  39. Acceptance – the biggest thing that stops so many of us from asking for help – admitting that we need help – it’s okay to need help.
    It’s articles like this that help those that need help step forward and ask – this is empowering and resourceful. So much love!

  40. I’m actually really bad at asking for help, but not because I’m scared of taking about it. I’ll tell anyone who’ll listen, haha.

    It’s more because i don’t want to trouble people with my problems. I think this is why it’s always important to check in with friends and offer them an ear, as they may not want to ask themselves.

  41. I used to have really bad panic attacks and I would deal with them on my own. Well clearly that never worked. It wasn’t until I had a panic attack and called my boyfriend during it. He would distract me by telling me a story about his day or something random, but it helped! I never thought I would tell someone about my attacks, but I’m so happy I did. Highly recommend sharing your mental health issues with a loved one.

    Erika Marie |

  42. Excellent points made here. Sometimes, it also takes someone else noticing the change for you to realise it too… or just to stop denying it. Hopefully things will continue to change for the better and there will be less stigma in asking for help in the future!

  43. I can never get enough of blogs about mental health. They help me to measure myself and those around me. Thank you! πŸ™‚

  44. Honesty . . . that is one of the best things a person can do when asking for help. We people are often so proud that asking for help is hard, and admitting to having problems even harder. But for help to truly make a difference, one must be honest. Thank you for sharing!

  45. Honesty is a big one when seeking help! I struggle with trust so this one was always hard for me but it is vital to getting help and it having a major difference in your recovery. Thank you for sharing this. Great post.

  46. I think this is a very important post to share, not least the part about asking specifically for what you need – something I am very very bad at, not only in relation to my health. For that reason, I also love your suggestion of taking along a supportive family member/friend/partner to GP appointments – it’s good to have someone there who has some idea of what you need, who can take over if need be.

  47. Some great tips here and on such an important topic. Although mental health seems to be more openly discussed nowadays, there’s still a way to go so it’s super encouraging that there are bloggers like yourself who are spreading awareness and sharing help and resources. This post will definitely help someone out there who may be struggling, thanks for sharing!

  48. Great tips! It can be scary to ask for help, but I think you did a great job with how you approached this. I believe it will make it easier for people!

  49. Love this post, it’s very informative! We need more people talking about the benefits of asking for help. Especially in a world where mental health is frowned upon. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    Kendra | Self-Care Overload

  50. I agree with your points, especially the one about acceptance and having a support system. One needs to accept the condition he/she to seek help.

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