NOTA, New York

How to Encourage a Loved One to Seek Mental Health Counseling April 1, 2019

NOTA, Rochester
How to Encourage a Loved One to Seek Mental Health Counseling, Rochester, New York

Life introduces many challenges, and they aren’t always easy to deal with on your own. It’s possible to develop conditions like anxiety, depression, and serious mental health disorders that interfere with the ability to enjoy daily life. It can be heartbreaking to watch a loved one struggle with these issues. Encouraging them to seek mental health counseling is a sensitive topic, and you need to approach it carefully. Following the advice below will help you have a productive conversation. 

3 Ways to Recommend Mental Health Counseling

1. Start With Support

First, your friend or relative needs to know you’re not judging them, and that you only intend the best. Without criticizing, explain symptoms you’ve seen, such as withdrawing from social events or abandoning favorite activities, and express your concern about these changes in their behavior. Let them know you simply want to help. Understand that they need to seek help for their own reasons, however, and not yours. Ultimately, you can’t force them to go to therapy or other forms of help; indeed, pressuring them too intensely may prove counterproductive.

2. Know What Options Are Available

mental-health-mental-health-association-of-rochester-monroe-countyAlthough mental health counseling and therapy can be incredibly helpful, there are unfortunately persistent stigmas that deter people from seeking help. Reassure your loved one that they aren’t alone, and remind them that these services can provide them with actionable ways to improve their lives. Help your friend find the right service for them by researching care options in your area. For example, if they’re not comfortable with private counseling, suggest that they try a support group. Being knowledgeable can help foster trust and allay your friend’s fears or concerns. 

3. Be Patient

Coming to terms with mental illness takes time. Your loved one may not be receptive to the idea of counseling right away. Give them space to think the matter over. If a few weeks have passed and their condition doesn’t appear to have improved, talk to them again. Remind them of your concerns and see how they respond. Consider getting close friends who are worried involved. You can also talk to a mental health professional or hotline staff who can offer guidance on how to gently yet effectively connect your loved one to the services they need. 


If you or a loved one needs a hand, turn to the professionals at Mental Health Association of Rochester/Monroe County. This New York-based nonprofit offers a wide scope of mental health services and has served the area for over 85 years. They’ll connect you to valuable resources for everything from overcoming trauma to bipolar disorder. They’ll also refer you to peer support to help along the way. Call (585) 325-3145 to schedule a consultation and visit their website to learn more about their services. 

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