Experiencing Mental Health Issues? How To Ask For Help

By: Joy Lewis

Not scientifically reviewed by Dr. Eeks

Your mental health entails your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how you think and feel about yourself and your decisions throughout your life. It also impacts how you relate with others, such as family members, friends, or colleagues. Since mental health affects many aspects of your life, it is essential to prioritize mental wellness. 

People experience mental illness differently. It may manifest as sadness, stress, or anxiety, to mention a few. Since mental health issues are often invisible to those around you, it can be challenging to reach out. These feelings can, therefore, be isolating and debilitating. Hence, it’s vital to know how to ask for assistance.  

Reaching out can be done in various ways, from talking to a friend to seeking professional mental health treatment. Below are some steps you can take to ask for help if you suspect your mental health is on a decline. 

Step One: Recognize When To Ask For Help  

The first step towards getting better is recognizing when to seek assistance. While there are many types of mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with each of them having specific symptoms, there are common signs of mental illness you can look out for.  

  • Change In Moods And Emotions  

Mood swings are normal, given the ups and downs of everyday life events. However, extreme shifts in moods and emotions may be a sign of a mental disorder. These intense emotions are characterized by dramatic highs followed shortly after by deep lows within short periods. This lasts for days and sometimes weeks.  

When not treated, the moods and emotions get more challenging to manage, especially since not everyone is acquainted with this type of mental health issue. Therefore, seeking help as soon as possible would be best if you notice such symptoms. 

  • Trouble Sleeping Or Staying Awake  

Sleep disturbances are common among people with mental health issues. It might mean having difficulty falling and staying asleep or waking up frequently at night. Other people wake up tired even after a full night’s sleep and cannot stay awake during the day.  

Mental health issues, like anxiety and stress, may keep you up due to excessive worrying. Similarly, conditions like depression are known to make you sleep longer or more often than necessary. Therefore, if you notice a shift in your sleeping patterns, you may want to pay attention to your mental health.  

Remember that insufficient sleep can escalate mental health problems and trigger conditions like mania and psychosis. So, it is essential to address it as soon as possible. 

  • Lack Of Energy And Motivation  

Mental illness can make you lose interest in activities, like socializing, that would typically bring you joy, often resulting from a lack of energy and inspiration. It is often accompanied by feelings of lethargy, leading to decreased performance at work or in your studies. This loss of interest often leads to isolation, which worsens your mental health condition.  

  • Difficulty Concentrating Or Staying Focused On Tasks At Hand  

You may experience difficulties concentrating on any task when facing psychological health concerns. You may easily get distracted and lose track of your progress, resulting in piled-up work. Consequently, once your responsibilities accumulate, you become stressed out. It’s, therefore, a loop that can be overwhelming.  

The best way to avoid it is by prioritizing your mental health once you notice consistent problems with concentration. You can check with an expert to know underlying issues and ways to cope with stress or emotions.  

  • Physical Symptoms Related To Stress Or Anxiety  

Stress and anxiety can manifest in physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, and other issues. So, pay attention when subtle signs appear, especially after ruling out other sicknesses. It also allows you to get expert help at managing stress before it worsens. 

If any combination of mental health issues persists, it’s wise to consider seeking advice or professional treatment.  

Step Two: Make A Decision To Ask For Help  

The next step in seeking support is deciding to do so. It may seem intimidating initially, but having the courage to face your struggles head-on is incredibly empowering. Admitting something isn’t right and taking action takes tremendous strength of character. You should feel proud just for deciding to seek help. 

Step Three: Research Your Options  

Researching your options requires you to study your mental condition. Sometimes what you need is a break from a stressful environment. Other times, you must get professional help. Take time to understand your weaknesses to determine the help you need.  

There are many types of mental health treatments. They include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Psychotherapy 
  • Support Group 
  • Hospitalization 
  • Complementary And Alternative Medicine 
  • Self-Help Plan 
  • Peer Support 

While reading credible materials about mental health can also help you get solutions for your challenges, you should seek expert advice if self-help is not working for you.  

Step Four: Know Your Rights   

Reading about your fundamental rights regarding access to medical care allows you to advocate for yourself while getting the appropriate care that respects your needs and preferences. Here are a few you may come across. 

  • You have the right to access quality medical care, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity. 
  • Your privacy and confidentiality must be respected at all times by healthcare providers. 
  • You have the right to receive information about available treatment options in a language you understand. 
  • You have the right to receive health care in a safe environment, free from violence and harassment by any healthcare provider. 

Knowing what you’re entitled to can provide comfort, as no one can take advantage of you when you’re most vulnerable.  

Step Five: Choose The Right Professional For You  

Choosing the right professional is crucial as it will determine your treatment’s success. You can opt for psychiatrists and psychologists, who are the most experienced in mental health issues. However, you can also approach counselors, psychiatric nurses, licensed clinical workers, and peer specialists.  

Before hiring an expert, confirm that they have enough experience working with people with similar conditions. You can even go a step further and seek recommendations on reputable mental health practitioners from people you trust. 

Step Six: Express Yourself Openly And Honestly To The Professional    

Professionals rely on accurate information to assess the kind of support that best suits a patient’s needs. It would be best to learn how to communicate honestly, even about difficult topics about yourself.  

It is essential that you are comfortable opening up about thoughts and feelings without feeling judged or threatened by the professional. It matters that you communicate your emotions and thoughts as comprehensively as possible.  

Being scared and quiet during the first session is acceptable. It’s also vital to remember that it’s normal not to know all the answers. You can learn proper communication along the way, perhaps after getting more comfortable with your therapist and the process of therapy. If you are having difficulty being comfortable with your mental health expert, you should find someone to whom you can speak your mind and heart. 

Step Seven: Ask Questions  

After expressing yourself, the next thing is to ask relevant questions about your diagnosis and treatment options. This will give you further insights into what to expect during follow-up visits and consultations. Some of the questions you can ask include the following: 

  • What are the likely causes of your condition? 
  • How accurate is this diagnosis, and what other conditions could be causing similar symptoms? 
  • Are there any lifestyle changes that need to be made or medications prescribed to manage the condition effectively? 
  • How long do I need to follow this plan? 
  • What are my chances of making a full recovery? 
  • What kind of side effects could I experience from medications or treatments? 
  • What are my insurance options? 

These questions also help build trust, as you’ll better understand why certain decisions are made. 

Step Eight: Take Notes Before And After Your Sessions  

You can write about bothersome experiences that are related to mental health. Communicate these things to your doctor so that they can build a more targeted care approach. This helps to ensure more productive use of both your time. You can also monitor your progress by jotting down notes. 

In addition, if you decide to share your written accounts with a supportive community, those dealing with assistance issues can better contextualize their situation through your shared experiences and knowledge for months or even years later. 

Step Nine: Find Other Sources Of Support  

In addition to professional help, you may ask for help and support through other means. While it is important not to rely entirely on others for emotional support, occasionally having a friendly ear or shoulder to cry on is a great way to cope. You can also browse online forums and social media for an outlet or constructive conversation about related topics.  

Various charities are also dedicated to raising awareness around conditions like depression and anxiety. They have created communities online and offline to help people with mental health issues. So, if you can’t trust a friend with your issues, you can always log into such platforms and speak to a stranger. These communities are equipped with the skills and tools to help you. Alternatively, you can physically visit these help centers. 

It can also be helpful to bring supportive networks along when asking for help. Besides being there for you, they might offer valuable insights into your current condition to a professional. The network could be of friends and family, depending on your relations. 

Step Ten: Have An Open Mind And Be Patient    

Having an open mind when dealing with mental health issues is essential. It allows you to go through self-discovery while allowing you time to heal naturally. Patience is key here. Just like anything else worth having, getting better mentally takes time. Don’t expect one session to be enough to solve all your problems magically.  

The recovery process is long and arduous but also extremely rewarding in the end. For example, treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) require multiple appointments before noticeable changes occur. So, stay patient and keep up with therapy and counseling appointments as prescribed.   

Step Eleven: Celebrate Your Progress  

Finally, it’s essential to celebrate the progress made regardless of how small asking for help might seem initially. Each step should be marked and celebrated as part of a greater healing journey and overall well-being. Recognizing this will help maintain the motivation to continue working hard during treatment plans to achieve your desired outcomes.    

If you suspect your mental health is deteriorating, consider following the above steps to ask for help.  


Reasons To Ask For Help With Mental Health Problems  

Asking for help when battling mental illness is one of the best things you can do for yourself. The benefits you enjoy include: 

  • Reduced Stress Levels  

The first benefit of asking for assistance during psychological distress is reducing stress levels. Having someone else take on some responsibility in helping you manage the issue at hand makes you feel at ease. An outside perspective can also ease a lot of tension, all while providing care toward recovery and stability.  

  • Increased Mental Clarity And Confidence  

The second benefit is having increased mental clarity in understanding your problems. You also gain increased confidence to do something about your issues instead of feeling lost and confused.  

  • You Develop Healthy Coping Strategies  

Mental health professionals have specialized training that enables them to provide practical guidance in developing healthy coping strategies. This can include everything from lifestyle changes to CBT and relaxation techniques like mindfulness meditation.  

These practices help you manage your emotions by focusing on the present moment rather than worrying about the future. With proper guidance, you can implement these skills into your daily life for benefits that’ll last beyond therapy sessions.  

  • Improved Self Awareness And Insight  

Finally, asking for help allows you to perceive yourself better. Through counseling and other forms of psychotherapy, it’s possible to develop a deeper understanding of yourself and what you’re predisposed to.  

You’ll also understand your triggers and how to deal with them without resorting to unhealthy habits like drug abuse. The result is enriched self-awareness, leading to more productivity in your life.  

Reaching out for assistance when mentally overwhelmed is an incredibly wise decision that often proves life-changing. It helps you manage your struggles better, which is a crucial aspect for progress toward balance and contentment within yourself. Ultimately, you’ll experience an overall increase in the quality of your life.  



Asking for help on mental health issues is seen as unnerving by many. However, it’s important to remember that this is essential in achieving emotional and psychological well-being. Remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. You should never feel ashamed or embarrassed about your struggles because there are always people to assist you. So, fight your fears, take the first step towards recovery today, and seek help!


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