Infomation for Friends and Family

When someone has a problem, they don’t suffer alone: it affects their friends and family too. If they are in denial, it can feel like those around them are actually suffering the most, and they don’t even realise it.

You want to help, but you don’t want to do the wrong thing, maybe make the situation worse or cause them to flare up. You might wonder if it’s better to do nothing and hope they pull themselves up.

There are risks both ways. Here are some facts you should consider:

  • People allow themselves to continue self-destructive behaviour by ignoring the consequences. Recovery can only begin when they move from denial to recognition of reality.
  • People with depression often don’t care about harm to themselves, even when they recognise it. They may think they are worthless, so self-harm is not a deterrent to their behaviour. They are more likely to respond to recognition that they are hurting others, especially those they love.
  • Everyone wants to be loved, even when they don’t think they deserve it. Love is essential to hope and hope is the first step to recovery.
  • People in a destructive cycle typically refuse to believe that they can be helped. Often (especially for men) their underlying fear is the stigma they think is attached to needing help.

These facts suggest some ways you can have a positive impact on the situation, at minimum risk.

  • If you are concerned about someone who matters to you, then telling them how their actions are hurting you (and perhaps others around them) can be a powerful incentive to them to reconsider their behaviour and consider getting help. There’s no need to criticise them or make demands, just tell them how you are hurting because of what they are doing.
  • Remind them that you love them. If you want, you can say that you miss how they used to be and you want the real them back in your life. Talk about the good times you’ve had together and could have again.
  • Giving people good information about treatments can help them re-evaluate their options.  The information in this website might be appropriate for them, starting with Clients under the Info menu and going onto Services. You could give them the link, or even print out some pages for them.
  • Emphasise that you think getting help is a sensible, practical action that you would respect. That getting help actually does work. And point out how confidential our services are, including the easy straight-through phone option (also explained on the Clients page).
  • If it’s true, tell them that you will support them through their recovery. Tell them exactly what you will do.

Finally, remember that you are suffering here as well. You need some support. So, draw on your friends and loved ones. Talk with them. And, if you want, talk with us. We see helping you as part of the bigger picture of solving the problem. Contact us and ask to speak to a counsellor. We’ll give you the same confidentiality and respect as a client.