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“I need to talk to a professional but I am afraid of being hospitalized.”

Many people want to get mental health help, but fear sometimes gets in the way.

Recently, a patient shared with us, "I've been diagnosed with major depression in the past. I have stuff going on in my life right now and I know I should talk to a therapist because, over the past couple of years, things have been getting worse. I'm afraid that if I talk to someone now they might hospitalize me. If I can't go to work, I could lose my job, and my house, and what would I do then? Is it even possible to work on my diagnosis without having to stay at the hospital?"

This is a crucial question and one that many patients share. It's important to know that it is possible to work on one's diagnosis without being hospitalized. Mental health professionals can provide guidance and support to help with coping strategies, lifestyle changes, and other strategies to manage one's mental health. It's important to seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed and cannot manage your mental health on your own.

Hospitalization does not happen unless you are an active danger to yourself or someone else. If you're having suicidal thoughts but have no plan or intent to act on them, you likely can meet with a therapist through outpatient care. A therapist can help you explore your feelings, develop strategies to manage them, and develop a plan for ongoing support. They can also refer you to other resources, such as support groups or crisis hotlines. If needed, they can also help you access inpatient care. Ultimately, it's important to remember that help is available and it's never too late to reach out for assistance.

Mental health professionals can provide a safe space to talk about your challenges and explore solutions. They can also work with you to create a personalized plan that will help you to achieve your goals. But don't forget to laugh along the way!

As George Bernard Shaw once said: “My way of joking is to tell the truth. It's the funniest joke in the world.”

How can you help someone you love who is struggling and fears therapy or seeking help?

It's never easy when someone refuses treatment. Ask them how you can help, listen to their concerns, and express your concerns. For example, you could offer to accompany them to their session or suggest that they talk to someone else they trust about their feelings. The average treatment refusal rate across all studies was 8.2 percent, meaning most people are open to getting help.

If a person shows signs of a mental health emergency, then you should take action right away by contacting 911 or your local crisis response team. There are some cases where a person may be mandated to get mental health treatment. But most of the time, you can’t force someone to get help when they don’t want it.


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