What can I do if someone doesn’t want my help?

If you feel that someone you care about is clearly struggling but can’t or won’t reach out for help, and won’t accept any help you offer, it’s understandable to feel frustrated, distressed and powerless. But it’s important to accept that they are an individual, and that there are always limits to what you can do to support another person.

You can:

  • Be patient. You won’t always know the full story, and there may be reasons why they are finding it difficult to ask for help
  • Offer emotional support and reassurance. Let them know you care about them and you’ll be there if they change their mind
  • Inform them on how to seek help when they’re ready
  • Look after yourself, and make sure you don’t become unwell yourself

You can’t:

  • Force someone to talk to you. It can take time for someone to feel able to talk openly, and putting pressure on them to talk might make them feel less comfortable telling you about their experiences
  • Force someone to get help (if they’re over 18, and it’s not an emergency situation). As adults, we are all ultimately responsible for making our own decisions. This includes when – or if – we choose to seek help when we feel unwell
  • See a doctor for someone else. A doctor might give you general information about symptoms or diagnoses, but they won’t be able to share any specific advice or details about someone else without their agreement.
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