When a Loved One Will Not Seek Help

“One of the hardest lessons for me to come to terms with is that, I myself, cannot force anyone to seek help. I cannot make anyone want to get better. I can guide them, I can support them, I can point them in the right direction, but I cannot heal someone who doesn’t want to heal themselves. That isn’t to say if they end up in a dangerous situation or you think they might end up in a dangerous situation you shouldn’t bring in a professional to mediate the situation, but sometimes you have to step back. I’ve had to step back and meet people where they are, even if it’s painful.


The best thing you can do is to support them in their journey and try to show them other perspectives and outlets. But until that individual is ready to receive help, they will not actively seek it. A person has to come to terms with themselves and their journey to make the decision. Unfortunately, that process can take longer than we may wish.”

This is an extract from an interview with Mallory Gothelf, a mental health advocate and founder of The Infinite Project.

Read more of Mallory’s interview: Giving Space to be Heard | The Meaning & Demeaning of Mental Health 

What did you do when a loved one refused to seek help?

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