People experiencing mental health or addiction problems are not always willing to seek treatment. They may not believe there is a problem. Or they may feel that they can address the issue on their own, without treatment. The person may also have fears about the mental health system, or concerns about the stigma of a mental health or addiction diagnosis.
This is a difficult situation for familes. While your family member may not see the need for treatment, you are witnessing the situation and feel they need support.
How should I talk to my family member?
You may be tempted to repeatedly urge, plead or even threaten your family member into seeking treatment. Unfortunately, this often results in a breakdown of communication and the person shutting you out.
Try to use “I” statements rather than “you” statements to express your concerns about the importance of treatment. “I” statements focus on your own feelings or beliefs rather than criticizing or directing the other person. This approach may allow you to get your point across without making your family member feel defensive.
For example, instead of saying:
You need to get help!
When I hear you talking about how unhappy you are, I feel worried. I think it would be really helpful for you to talk to someone about how you’re feeling.