How to Know When It's Time to Seek Help for Your Mental Health

Mental health exists on a continuum, and we’re all somewhere on it.

And because mental health is a continuum from sickness to health, from disconnection to connection, it can be hard to know when it’s time to seek help for your mental health.

But there’s a rule that I follow that has served me well.

This is When It’s Time to Seek Help for Your Mental Health

It comes down to quality of life, and only you can know what that is for you.

This is what you need to do.

You have to ask yourself something.

Whatever you’re going through, whatever mental health issue is affecting you, is it affecting your quality of life to an extent that you can’t go about your normal, day-to-day activities?

That is the question you need to ask yourself.

And after you do that, then you need to give yourself an honest answer. Because one of the tricky things about struggling with mental health issues is that they often make us lie to ourselves. We think that we should have to put up with more than we actually should.

Ask yourself this as well:

Would a reasonable person keep fighting through something so bad?

It’s so easy to consider someone else’s life. We can give advice all day to our friends and family members. But when it comes to our own life, we have trouble. We run into a brick wall. And then we try to punch and claw our way through the wall instead of doing the reasonable thing, which would be to stop and take a step back.

There comes a time in almost everyone’s life when their mental health just isn’t doing very well. It is at this point that a decision needs to be made: keep fighting through the impossible, or stop and choose a new direction.

It Always Has to Come Back to Quality of Life

This is the north star. If you can’t get out of bed, if you can’t brush your teeth, if you’re calling off work over and over — it might be time to make a change.

This isn’t a bad thing. It’s just how it is.

Your mental health deserves the same love and care as your physical health. If you couldn’t move because of your physical health, you’d get somebody to take you to the doctor.

And in fact, if you don’t take care of your mental health your physical health soon will deteriorate as well.

If you asked yourself the question and given yourself a good honest answer, you’ll know whether or not it’s time to call in some extra support. And there are endless ways you can support yourself. It’s not so much that you need to immediately find the perfect kind of support for you, but rather that you start the process, period.

If you’re really struggling — for instance, if you’re having suicidal thoughts with a plan to harm or kill yourself — call your emergency number or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1–800–273–8255.

This isn’t meant to scare you. Research has shown that talking about this is actually helpful. It doesn’t give people ideas. What it does is open up the conversation so that people who are hurting can move back towards health and connection.

That’s what we need, not just for ourselves, but for everyone in this world going about their daily lives.