“Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.”

– Christopher Germer


One of the most sensitive, draining and important topics my clients deal with is that of a close loved one whom is in need of help. We are going to talk about how YOU can get your loved ones to seek help. When someone dear to us is struggling with emotional or mental issues, the family or close friends can often be the main source of support. However, being the sole support system can sometimes be very difficult—especially if the one supporting is not well-equipped or does not have their own support systems in place. Tune-in as Joseph describes 5 ways to approach a loved one that is struggling with mental illness and how you can encourage them to get the help that they need.

Dealing with a loved one who needs help can be exhausting. Make no mistake, you cannot do it on your own. For starters, let me share with you two books that are very helpful. They are I Am Not Sick I Don’t Need Help! and You Need Help! I have found time and again that frontal confrontation will get you nowhere as that simply flares up the defences. So let me share with you some other ways to break the gridlock.

5 Ways to Get Your Loved One to Seek Help

Do your part to improve the relationship.

Your loved one has a problem and this can cause you much grief and stress. No doubt that it impacts your relationship. The issue is that the more impaired the relationship, the harder it is to give support and gain traction with them. So focus first on repairing the relationship to make it as best as it can be. Of course, they have an issue that is preventing the full realization of this goal, but make sure to clean up your side of the street as well. At the same time, you should never take responsibility for their problems, only for how you are acting.

Find what motivates them.

Try to speak their language, find a common ground

Don’t criticize, blame, or apologize.

Find areas that will help them understand that you care about them. For certain mental illnesses, people have no clue what is wrong with them

Find areas to agree on.

Don’t spend your day arguing, it will get you nowhere! Use Dr. Amador’s approach of: LEAP: Listen, Empathize, Agree, and Partner. Check out his book for more details.

Get your own support.

Let’s face it, it is not easy at all to live with someone with a mental illness. It can be tiring, depressing, anxiety provoking and just plain difficult. It’s easy to burn out. You must take steps to get your own support. Whether this is listening to music, talking to a friend, developing your own support team, talking to a therapist or your doctor about your challenges. Take care of yourself with compassion and care. You can’t force your loved ones to get help”


We are only able to help someone if we can help ourselves first. Remember that you have your own needs to fulfill before trying to help others.  Don’t start from a point of blame and criticism, find common ground and aim to partner with them in their journey.

Resources Mentioned:

I Am Not Sick I Don’t Need Help! How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment using the LEAP method: Listen, empathize, agree and partner by Dr. Xaviar Amador.  


You Need Help! Step-by-step plan to convince a loved one to get counseling. Dr. Mark Komrad