It is not easy to admit that someone you love has a problem. If someone you care about cannot identify his or her own need for help, and you see that help really is needed, then here is a guide to getting your friend to seek mental health treatment.
Can you determine the mental illness your friend is experiencing? What are the identifiable symptoms your friend is presenting that have made you feel the need to seek help?
Mental Illness Is A Disease
Mental illness can be viewed similarly to diabetes, or any other physical illness. Someone who is suffering from a mental illness will also be dealing with the severe stigma our society currently places on such diseases, which are really no different than a medical diagnosis. Just like a physical illness, early detection and treatment can prevent the worsening of symptoms and overall suffering.
Helping a friend seek mental health treatment may involve overcoming a large part of that stigma with your friend first. If he or she feels ashamed or embarrassed by an illness that is out of any one person’s control, then you may need to first talk directly with your friend, openly about the realness of the illness. Depending on how that conversation goes, you will have a better idea of what you can do to help, and when it is time to go directly to a trained professional for help getting your friend into mental health treatment.
A trained professional can provide you with clarity on what mental illness your friend may be experiencing, and how you can approach a conversation about treatment. A mental health professional will initially conduct an assessment, which should be done in person. As a friend, you can help facilitate that happening. By making your friend feel safe with the process, you can even accompany him or her to the assessment meeting.
From there, the results of the assessment and the expertise of the mental health professional can help determine what form of mental health treatment would be most beneficial for your friend. If, for example, the assessment shows that your friend has been suffering from the symptoms of depression and has been self-medicating with alcohol, the trained professional will provide dual diagnosis programs so that your friend can receive treatment for depression and alcoholism at the same time.
If your friend is showing symptoms of schizophrenia though, an immediate referral to a psychiatrist will most likely be made so that your friend can begin medication to maintain the illness.
Referrals to various forms of treatment can be made so that your friend has a choice in treatment facilities, programs, and overall feel. Plus, you and your friend, with the help of the person making treatment referrals, can find out what your friend’s health insurance company will cover.
Friends And Family
Your friend’s family should also generally be involved in the process. If your friend is resistant to family involvement, you may need to talk with them directly. That way they know what is going on without upsetting the friend you are trying to get into mental health treatment. His or her family needs to know what is happening though, especially if your friend is underage or is not managing his or her own finances.
As with cancer, for example, the earlier your friend can be assessed, diagnosed, and treated of a mental illness, the better chance there is for a return to a functioning life. Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, dissociative disorders, dual diagnosis disorders, eating disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder will not get better on their own.
Without mental health treatment, your friend’s symptoms and suffering will only get worse.