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How to Get Someone Mental Help When They Refuse

If someone in your life needed, but did not want to get, the help that could dramatically improve their life, would you know what to do? In other words, do you know how to get someone mental help when they refuse?

Most people who have a mental illness do not receive the treatment they need. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), about 52.9 million adults in the United States had a mental health disorder in 2020. But SAMHSA data indicates that only 24.3 million adults (or 46.2% of this group) received mental health treatment.

Why Would Someone Refuse to get Mental Help?

Refusing to get mental health treatment doesn’t mean that a person is simply obstinate or doesn’t want to get better. Here are some of the many reasons why someone might refuse to get mental health help:

  • Shame: Though mental health awareness has improved considerably in recent decades, stigma still exists. Some people my simply be too ashamed to admit that they have a problem and need help.
  • Incorrect assumptions: People who don’t understand what modern mental health treatment consists of may be hesitant to enter a treatment program because of outdated stereotypes and other sources of misinformation.
  • Fear: Fear of the unknown can be a significant obstacle. Some people may be afraid that if they enter treatment, they will lose their independence. Others might fear that treatment will cause fundamental changes in who they are. 
  • Lack of awareness: Some people who have a mental illness don’t realize they have a problem. Others may think they are capable of managing their symptoms without professional assistance. 

When you’re trying to determine how to get someone mental help when they refuse, it can be helpful to identify why they don’t want to get treatment. When you understand the reasons for their refusal, you can address those specific concerns. 

How to Get Someone Mental Help When They Refuse

Convincing someone to get mental help when they refuse can be a difficult process. But it is not impossible. When you approach this challenge in an organized, open-minded manner, you can accomplish your goal and connect your loved one with the services they need. Here are a few tips:

Talk to Your Loved One

Having an open and honest conversation can be an opportunity for you to share your concerns with your loved one and reiterate your support. It can also be a chance for your loved one to describe what they are feeling and explain why they are hesitant or unwilling to get help. 

As noted in the previous section, if you can directly address their concerns, you may be able to get them to change their mind. You can also discuss the benefits of receiving treatment. Instead of focusing solely on the treatment process, you can also highlight how their life can improve once they’ve received care.

Your loved one may respond to your suggestions with anger or hostility. Prepare for pushback and do whatever you can to prevent the conversation from becoming an argument. Remember that you’re both on the same side. Also, it’s unlikely that one conversation will change your loved one’s mind. Plan to keep the lines of communication open.

Get Help From Friends & Family

Trying to keep your loved one safe while you try to convince them to enter treatment can be a time-consuming, emotionally exhausting endeavor. If at all possible, try to avoid taking this entire burden on yourself. 

Hopefully you can get a few trusted family members or close friends to help you. These people can help you research treatment facilities. They can also have discussions with your loved one about the necessity and value of getting professional help. 

Of course, you don’t want your loved one to feel like they’re being ganged up on. But if you approach this with sensitivity, you can demonstrate to your loved one how many people care about them. This can break through the sense of isolation that can be symptomatic of some mental health concerns.

Investigate Your Range of Options

Explore the types of treatment that might be best for your loved one. As you learn more about the services that can help them, you can have more focused conversations. A general plea to get help might be rejected, but if you talk to them about a specific type of treatment, such as an intensive outpatient program, they may be more open to continuing the discussion.

When you identify a center that looks like a good fit for your loved one, you may be able to arrange a facility tour. You can accompany your loved one as they view the facility and meet with staff. This can help them overcome any fears or misgivings that are preventing them from agreeing to get treatment.

Consult With Professionals

Talk to your family doctor, a local mental health advocacy organization, or the representatives of treatment centers in your area. These professionals can provide actionable insights about how to get someone mental help when they refuse. Depending on the nature and severity of your loved one’s system, you may also need to look into your legal options and responsibilities. 

Hopefully, you won’t have to get the court system involved. If you act with compassion and respect, get a few close friends or family members to help you, involve mental healthcare professionals as appropriate, and offer specific suggestions, you can be successful in your efforts to connect your loved one with the care they need.

Find Mental Health Help in Atlanta, GA

If someone in your life has been struggling with a mental health concern, Peachtree Wellness Solutions may be able to help. Our treatment center in Atlanta, Georgia, offers comprehensive programming and compassionate support for adults whose lives have been disrupted by mental illness. Contact us today to learn more.