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We still live in a society where mental illness is stigmatised and people suffering from it face social discrimination. In such an environment, seeking professional help is a taboo that we need to break.
This taboo not only makes seeking help difficult for the patient but also contributes towards making their situation worse.
Soon after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, there was a wave of people talking about the importance of mental health. It was acknowledged that the society, as a collective, leaves it to be an unattended issue till the time it turns into something extremely traumatic.
It is often that you will find your parents’ generation showing signs of mental distress due to past or present trauma. One cannot deny that they have been through a lot of struggles, experiencing more of life’s hardships than you and I have. However, they might be carrying around all that emotional weight without even saying a word due to the taboo related to seeking professional help for one’s mental health.
You can help your parents
If you see your parents not doing mentally well, it might be time to step in. Some signs could include excessive anxiety, not wanting to socialize, not leaving the house, and changed behaviour.
While you cannot replace professional help, creating a comfortable relationship will help them open up about their mental health. This will give you the scope to ask them to seek professional help.
But, do not try to force them into it. If they resist seeking professional help, as many desi parents do, then you have to allow them to have their space while still trying to convince them about therapy in subtle ways, hoping they would agree with time.
Here are 5 things you can say to your parents to convince them to seek about therapy:
1. Try to tell them that going to therapy doesn’t mean there’s necessarily something wrong with them. It can be just like their routine health checkup but for mental health. Normalize it and avoid hyping them up which can further worsen their situation.
2. Begin by going for therapy yourself. This might be helpful for your parents as well. You could serve as a good example of a healthy, functional person seeking therapy simply to cope up with certain feelings that you can’t make sense of by yourself.
3. Be sensitive and empathetic towards them. Encourage them to try therapy every now and then. For that, you will also need to study and understand their emotions better.
4. Let them know how much you care for them and whatever you say, try to frame it with care. Even though they are your parents, you cannot get rude with them when you are trying to convince them to go for therapy.
5. Accentuate the fact that their privacy will be maintained and no one would interfere. Tell them how safe it is to talk to a therapist than a friend. It does not just offer more clarity, but they can also be open and honest about what’s going on in their life without any consequences.
While it is certainly understandable that you want the best for them, if they are too stubborn to the idea of seeking help then try accepting that fact. Once you accept that, you may be better able to identify what you can do to help them.