Mental Health: 8 Tips To Encourage A Loved One To Get Counseling

Mental health is one of the most vital aspects of your overall health because this affects your emotional, social, and psychological well-being. It determines how we feel, think and respond to every situation. Therefore, you should make sure that your mental health is stable.



Life can be challenging, and no one can run away from that. However, not everyone takes on life the same way. Some cope fast and overcome their issues, while some find it hard to move forward and get over their current situation. As a result, constant failure to overcome these challenges affects how they behave. When this happens, the need for behavioral counseling arises as well.

Read Also: What is Online Therapy: Pros and Cons of E-Counseling

Watching your loved ones struggle with their mental health is truly heart-breaking. Depression is one battle that most people find hard to overcome. It could be due to a recent loss, stress from the family or work, or heartbreak. Whichever position you may find them in, there’s one thing you should consider doing: encourage them to seek professional help.

As much as you want to do this the right way, you need to make sure that you don’t step on their foot and cause a negative idea about seeking counseling. Though this can be tricky and challenging, there are things that you can do to effectively approach them and convince them to get the help they need.

  1. Talk To Them at The Right Place And Time

One thing you should do is to wait for the right time and place before opening up your concerns about them. Keep in mind that where and how you open it up might affect how a person would respond to it.

It’d be best if you:

  • Talk With Them One On One. Never talk about your concern in front of many people where others can overhear what you’re talking about. It might cause embarrassment and discomfort.
  • Be As Discrete As Possible. Avoid opening up about the issue with a group unless the person allows it.
  • Never Take Over Their Control. Make sure that you don’t cross boundaries. Always make them feel that they have complete control over their treatment.
  • Always Look For Good Timing. When you’re ready to open up with your concerns, make sure that person is also prepared. They should be in a good mood, well-rested, and currently not dealing with a difficult situation. When they are relaxed and calmed down, they’ll more likely respond positively.
  1. Let Them Know That You Care About Them

When you know that your loved one is struggling with their mental health, it’s normal to feel the need to take action right away. However, remember to establish trust between you and the person you want to help.

People suffering from depression usually feel that the world is against them, and they can’t trust anyone. Therefore, when you act right away without building a solid foundation, that person might refuse your help.

Instead, ensure that the person knows that you genuinely love and care for them. You must build that confidence and trust to expect a positive response. This way, the person will not see you as an offender but as someone willing to help them overcome and be better.

  1. Never Force Them

Remember to keep in mind that you can never force anyone to undergo treatment; it should be their own choice. The best you can do is encourage your loved ones to seek treatment at their own pace. If you force them to go with you on the first session, the following sessions could be more stressful for them. It could lead to poor results despite attending professional counseling sessions.

One trick you can do is share a similar thing you’ve been through. If you’ve been to counseling or have been to therapy, let your loved one know the benefits you experienced after seeking help. Making it about yourself will help take the pressure off them and make the experience of going to counseling a relatable experience. This way, you can increase their likelihood of going to counseling sessions.

  1. Be Straightforward

People suffering from depression are usually defensive about it and wouldn’t admit to the actual situation. What usually makes them hesitant to open up to people is that people might not take their concern seriously and see it as a drama instead.

That’s why, when you want to help a person suffering from depression, it’d be ideal that you are straightforward when talking to them. Let the person know that you’re serious about helping them and that you want the best for them. Be respectful but firm; they should feel that you’re serious about it and that you care for their welfare.

Read Also: Mental Health: 8 Effective Strategies To Break The Addiction Cycle

  1. Know Where They Are Coming From

Talking with someone whose mental health is in a rocky situation is tricky. As much as you want to keep encouraging them with the positive thoughts you want to share, make sure you also listen to their concerns.

There are many reasons why some people don’t resort to the idea of counseling, so it’d be best if you ask the person about what stops them from seeking help. Reassure the person you’re there not to judge but to listen and help instead.

Regardless of how they answer your question, never argue whether their reasons are valid or otherwise. Remember that what you would consider a trivial issue could be something more vital for others, and it’s normal to feel that way. That being said, seeking help will best help them recover and show them desirable results when they open themselves for it.

  1. Ensure Them That You Respect Their Privacy

Another consideration is to let the person know that their privacy is respected and safe when talking with a therapist. Privacy is one of the factors that hinder a person from seeking help.

With that, the person must know that there will be discretion in whatever he will tell the counselor. Reassure them that it’s okay to tell all the things bothering them without the fear of getting exposed.

  1. Prepare Yourself For Resistance

Keep in mind that you won’t always get the expected result. There will be resistance, especially if the person denies the problem.

When this happens, you must know how to deal with resistance. Here are some options that you can do when this happens:

  • Make It About Their Loved Ones. Use the person’s loved ones as leverage to encourage them to seek help. Usually, when they recognize the problem, encouraging them to seek help for themselves might not always work. On the other hand, when you tell them the benefits to their loved ones when he seeks and gets help, he might fully decide to get counseling.
  • Highlight Their Best Qualities. When you point out all the negative things about a person, it’ll set the wrong mood for the talk and push the person to be more resistant. However, if you point out all the positive and admirable things about the person and how he can be better when he seeks help, that’ll encourage them and be excited about how the counseling would benefit them.
  • Carefully Explain The Specific Problem. Most people resistant to help don’t recognize the need to help themselves. They are usually in denial of reality. However, when you carefully explain to them the specific problem without sounding judgmental, you’re opening their eyes to see the need to seek help.
  1. Respect Their Decision

It’d be best that you prepare yourself for the decision that they’ll make. There’s never an assurance your loved ones will accept the help you’re offering. It’s always a 50/50 chance. However, do not lose heart. Respect their decision and continually love them no matter what the cost is. Never blame yourself for the refusal that they’ve made. Instead, think that you’ve given your best to help them.

It’d also help if you pause insisting on your concern. Give your loved ones a break and let them breathe. Doing so might allow them to think about it more, and hopefully, they’ll change their mind.

Read Also: Depression: 6 Ways To Deal With A Depressive Episode Effectively


Indeed, seeing your loved one suffering emotionally or struggling with their mental health is painful. You surely don’t want to see them in pain.

As much as you want to help them by seeking help and getting counseling, you must be mindful of how you approach them. Keep in mind that people in these challenging situations can be sensitive and defensive. There are times that they find it hard to recognize and accept the reality that there is a problem and that they need help.

However, when you approach them respectfully and effectively, there’s a possibility that you can encourage them to have therapy. Yes, encourage your loved ones instead of forcing them most of the time. The decision must be out of their own will and not because you obliged them to. Considering the eight effective ways stated above will help you reach the positive response that you’ve always wanted to hear.




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