Understanding why it
can be hard to reach out for help
Have you wanted to reach out for support before, but didn’t? You’re not alone. There are very real factors that may prevent you from taking the next step to get help, no matter where you are on your mental health journey. Here, Kids Help Phone shares common barriers that prevent people from reaching out for support, plus first-hand stories from our community.
It’s common to feel like you can only reach out for mental health support when there’s a crisis or when things start to feel overwhelming. However, looking after your mental health when you’re feeling good may actually help you to cope better when things start to feel difficult. Reaching out early and talking to someone in your community who you trust can increase your self-awareness and improve your ability to communicate how you’re feeling.
What are some barriers to reaching out for help?
There are many valid reasons why you may not have reached out for support, which could include one or a combination of the following:Reasons are
- not knowing what support is available or where/how to find it
- having a bad experience reaching out for support previously
- stigma (being seen/judged negatively based on a personal characteristic like your mental health)
- experiencing racism and other forms of discrimination
- difficulty finding free or low-cost services
- concerns about when you can make time in your schedule
- lacking a place where you can be alone and have the privacy to share
- afraid of feeling like a burden
- thinking your issue is too big or isn’t big/serious enough
- not sure how to explain what and how you’re feeling/not sure how to start the conversation
- feeling like you should be able to work through it yourself
- language barriers and/or not finding support that feels like a good fit culturally
- worried about confidentiality
- other reasons
It’s OK if it takes time to find the support that’s right for you. Overcoming obstacles to reaching out looks different for everyone. It’s important to remember that your thoughts and feelings matter and you deserve to feel heard, understood and get support. If there are things preventing you from getting help, we’re here for you.