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How to Encourage Someone to Seek Professional Support for their Mental Health

Jun 9, 2022

A man sitting on the ground with a friend putting a encouraging hand on his shoulderIt’s painful to see a loved one struggling with their mental health. When it comes to mental illness, the path to recovery may not always seem straightforward. Perhaps you feel lost about what kind of care your loved one might need, or maybe they have reservations about talking to a professional, or they fear seeking help because they don’t know what to expect.

You may not know where to start or know to approach your struggling loved one. There are many ways to intervene effectively.  

What does treatment for a mental health crisis look like? 

Individuals struggling with unmanageable symptoms, recent life events, or other issues can often feel out of control. In addition to these feelings being very uncomfortable, if left unaddressed, they can become far worse and even life-threatening. There are various ways to approach a mental health crisis: calling a mental health hotline or contacting a mobile crisis team who can visit with the individual in need, or seeking formal treatment at a hospital, clinic, or community provider to intervene and coordinate necessary resources.  

If someone chooses to enter care at one of People Incorporated’s crisis residential programs, their experience includes receiving care in a “home-like” freestanding environment that provides the necessary support to assist in managing a mental health crisis. Staff work with the client to assess their needs and create a care plan that will help the client move through their crisis with proper programming. People Incorporated’s Crisis teams work at various sites across the larger Twin Cities area. Mara Burk is the Program Manager at People Incorporated’s Nancy Page Residence, which now operates as a hybrid model by offering both short-term crisis stabilization services and longer-term residential treatment services. Residences like Nancy Page Residence and other People Incorporated sites provide residential care available to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. These services are the most intensive level of care, integrating mental health, foundational health, and substance use services in an inpatient supervised setting.

Crisis Residential services offer a positive alternative to a hospital visit. These programs feel more like home and provide a relative sense of stability and safety.

“This is the door into a world of mental health services, a step over a threshold,” says Burk. “From here, you can choose the type of care you need. We prioritize each client’s own agency in their recovery plan.”

Numerous other services are also available, such as care coordination, treatment programming, outpatient therapy and medication assistance, and case management.

So how can you help your loved one take that first step? 

People Incorporated connects those in need to appropriate services and care through our Central Access call center. The People Incorporated Central Access representatives are highly knowledgeable on the available levels of services, and they are willing to navigate each client’s individual needs and preferences. Central Access is available Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 651-774-0011.

Burk recommended a few other common and accessible methods for seeking support in the Twin Cities Metro. Community Outreach for Psychiatric Emergencies (COPE) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and provides emergency intervention services for adults experiencing life-threatening emotional crises. COPE is accessible through a simple phone call, and the team is willing to walk you or your loved one through the crisis at hand and connect you to further resources. The phone number for COPE is 612-596-1223. You can also call 9-1-1 directly and ask for their crisis intervention team (CIT) to get the targeted mental health support needed and connections to further resources.

“Recovery means something different to everyone,” says Burk. “The road can be bumpy, and it isn’t linear. But showing consistent support for a loved one means a lot in that journey.”

In addition, your loved one may not always be ready to receive support. In these cases, Burk stresses the importance of patience and diligent care. “Just keep showing up. Change takes time, and it makes a huge difference when you don’t give up on them.”

Other resources for crisis intervention include: