Why Is it So Hard to Ask for Help?

Mental health issues might occur more frequently in people with ADHD, but that doesn’t mean that other people aren’t affected, too. For example, one study found that over 50 million Americans were experiencing a mental illness in 2019-2020, which works out to about 20% of the adult population in the U.S.

But even though these issues are incredibly common, many people find it really difficult to reach out for support. Much of this can be traced back to societal stigma. People worry about the negative reactions they may receive from others when revealing their mental health struggles. They might be concerned that, if people found out about their anxiety, depression, or other mental illness, it could affect their relationships or even their livelihood. There may also be self-stigma at play which involves internalized shame about their own condition and worrying that they’ll be seen as a burden to others.

Simply taking that first step to ask for help can be intimidating. But the reality is that loved ones are often eager to help when asked. They may have noticed you struggling, but didn’t know how to bring it up or what type of support you needed. By reaching out, you can actually deepen those relationships by letting your guard down and being more honest with one another.

How to Ask for Mental Health Support

Once you’ve overcome your fears about asking your family for help, it can be tricky to determine what steps to take. What’s the best way to ask for mental health support? The following are some of the top tips to consider to make the process easier.

Start small

You don’t have to reveal what’s going on to everyone at once. It also doesn’t have to be a part of a big “family meeting” where you feel like you’re giving a speech about the state of your mental health. Instead, make your first step in asking for support a small one. Pick one person in your family who you feel the most comfortable confiding in and talk to them in a one-on-one conversation. Figure out a simple way to broach the topic. For example, you can just start by saying, “I’ve been having a tough time lately.” If you get nervous talking about it in person, send it in a text first.

Tell them what you need

Now that you’ve opened up about your mental health, it’s likely that your loved one will be concerned about you. Ask them if they have the capacity to help. If they do, it’s better to be specific about the types of support you need than to simply say you need them to be “there for you.” Take some time to consider what might help you the most. Here are a few examples:

  • “I’ve been feeling really lonely. Could we spend more quality time together, or could you send me a daily check-in text?”
  • “I need a break so I can get some rest. Can you take a responsibility or task off my plate for a few days?”
  • “I’d like to get professional help, but it feels overwhelming to figure out. Can you help me find a therapist or drive me to my appointments?”

If you’re not sure what you need, start by just talking through what’s going on and asking for their guidance. The more you open up, the more your loved one can potentially help you.

Follow up

When a family member is helping you through a mental health crisis, follow up with them by sending updates. Even if you’re still struggling, a simple “thank you” can go a long way. And if you find that you need more, less, or different types of support as you work through things, don’t hesitate to keep them in the loop. This makes it easier for your family member to help you in the way that you need, and gives them the reassurance that they’re doing the right thing by being a reliable source of support.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, especially as it relates to your ADHD, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of licensed clinicians at Done. In addition, you can contact SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) to receive free and confidential support 24/7.