If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis or is considering suicide, help is available. Reach out to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988 or contact Crisis Text Line by texting PA to 741741.
HeadsUp does not offer clinical services.
While it may feel easier to ignore changes that are concerning in your loved one (especially ones that are subtle) it is important to reach out right away when you think someone you know is in distress. Though hard sometimes, listen to your intuition and try and engage with that person early on to help them find their way to feeling better.
When a loved one is suffering it is hard to know when and how to start conversations. Try and find a quiet location during a time when you will not be distracted. It is important to honor a person’s beliefs and accept what they share. Try focusing more on their feelings of stress and discomfort, rather than arguing about whether their experiences are real.Read More +
Be a good listener and offer reflections, sharing your observations and pointing out the most noticeable changes that you have seen. Inquire about their concerns and share how getting help can address them. Most importantly, even though it can be hard, try to instill hope and encouragement as well as assuredness that the person who is struggling is not alone. You are there to help them if and when they are ready.
Suggesting that a person should try getting help is often received with fear, hostility, or denial of need. It sometimes can help to reassure them that you will work together to find options of support that feel right for them. Let them know that reaching out for help may be useful in achieving their personal goals and will ease the burdens of their feelings of stress. Let them know there is nothing wrong with asking for help.
Being positive in the face of a challenge is not easy, especially when we feel stressed, disappointed, or afraid. It is important to remain consistent in your support, considerate in your judgments, and positive with your words. It is through this consistency that trust is built and it is on that foundation of trust that help will be sought.
Stigma is both the internal and external experience of negative labels placed upon those with mental illness. This unfair and often unfounded layer of judgment interferes with both the reaching out and offering of help. Many young people developing psychosis are nervous to engage with services due to perceived and actual experiences of high levels of anxiety and shame.
If the person you reach out to does not feel ready to get help, try not to give up. As frustrating as it may feel, it often takes a few conversations before people are open to reaching out for care. If you are struggling to engage your loved one, consider contacting one of our First Episode Psychosis centers for help. We are here, and you are not alone.