Seeking help for mental health problems

The threshold for seeking help for mental health problems has become lower, but many people still suffer alone for far too long. A difficult situation in life can become too stressful for anyone to bear, and personal strategies and the support of friends and family members may no longer be sufficient. Sometimes it is impossible to find a specific reason, for example in current or past events in life, that would explain the bad feeling.

When a person is not well and needs help, seeking help may be difficult for various reasons. Mental health problems often develop gradually, possibly making it difficult to recognise the need for help. An individual may sometimes have trouble admitting that the bad feeling is not easing with time.

The fact that many people cannot even imagine telling about their personal lives and private thoughts and feelings to a stranger can also make it harder to seek help. Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness can also become a hindrance: people suffering from depression, for example, may feel they are not important or valuable enough to receive treatment, or that treatment would not help them anyway. In addition, the strong Finnish tradition of coping alone, as well the fear of stigma, still affect us even today.

Many people who have considered seeking help have probably heard that seeking help and finding the right treatment or support methods may take time and effort. Unfortunately, this can be true at times, but not always by any means: people should always be brave in seeking help.

It is hard to define for sure when it is time to seek professional help, but the following points should be kept in mind:

  • Mental health services are there for us all, and we all have equal rights to use them.
  • If you feel like you need professional help, it is reason enough to seek help.
  • Help should be sought immediately if you or someone close to you is having self-destructive thoughts or delusional or incoherent behaviour.

You can seek help for mental health problems from, for example, health care centres, occupational health care, specialised psychiatric care, private clinics, private psychotherapists, the church and various organisations which provide and maintain different kinds of mental health services.