Knowing when to ask for help and understanding why you need it is crucial to manage your mental health. Monique Marais expands on this.
Children find it easy to ask for help, irrespective of how challenging the task might be. Adults on the other hand view asking for help as a sign of weakness. Somewhere in the growing up phase, we lose our ability to freely ask for assistance, and by doing this, we isolate ourselves, placing more and more strain on ourselves to make it work. The reality, however, is that at some point, everyone needs help. Knowing when to ask for help and understanding why you need it is crucial to manage your mental health.
World Mental Health Day
On 10 October each year, we celebrate World Mental Health Day, which is a global initiative to raise awareness and support for mental health issues.
The World Health Organization advocate that “World Mental Health Day 2023 is an opportunity for people and communities to unite behind the theme ‘Mental health is a universal human right” to improve knowledge, raise awareness and drive actions that promote and protect everyone’s mental health as a universal human right.”
The stigma behind mental health issues makes it even harder for people to ask for help. We need to debunk the myths society has, so that everyone can freely ask for help without judgement.
What is mental health?
Mental health encompasses emotional, psychological, and social well-being, influencing cognition, perception, and behaviour. If left untreated, mental health issues can overwhelm you and can lead to suicidal thoughts or an attempt to take your own life.
The American Psychological Association reports that from 2008 to 2018, a survey showed that 5.8% of Americans were not receiving the care they needed for their mental health.
Fear of asking
At some point, you need to let go of your fear of asking and take the assistance that is available or offered. This can be something small, such as sharing household chores, or something bigger, such as not taking the lead in a group project.
It can mean facing your fears and seeing a doctor, psychologist, or social worker to address your mental health concerns, to find a treatment regimen that works for you, so that you can lead your best life.
Three tips to assist with asking for help
Krista Rizzo, a life coach, shares three tips to assist you with asking for help:
- Change your mindset – You do not have to do it alone; you are only one person, and it’s okay to ask for help. Learn to delegate; most people want to help.
- Make time for yourself – Self-care is important for you to be effective; you can’t give from a cup that is empty.
- Reassess your priorities – Take time to evaluate what is important and what you need to change to enable you to meet your goals and live your best life.
Dr Joan Rosenburg (PhD in Psychology) has the following view on asking for help, “It is appropriate to absorb what is good and to feel grateful for the appreciation and support of others. When others extend their assistance, wisdom, availability, time, talents, or enthusiasm to you, unquestionably, they are giving of themselves. Gracious receipt of their generosity not only meets whatever needs you may have, it also honours them. When you allow yourself to receive, you have reached that harmonious balance between independence and dependence.”
H – Asking for help, gives you HOPE that things will work out, that you will achieve your goal instead of fail because you tried to do it alone.
E – Everyone needs help at some point in their lives, you are not alone.
L – Link with resources, know where your support lies and when to reach out.
P – Prioritise your mental health, ask for help when things are too much to deal with alone.
Asking for help is a significant and valuable skill, and it’s a sign of personal strength and emotional intelligence. Here are several reasons why asking for help is important and why it reflects strength:
- Fosters collaboration – It brings people together and can lead to better problem-solving and innovation.
- Shows self-awareness – You realise your own limitations, which is a crucial component to emotional intelligence.
- Promotes learning and growth – By asking for help, you gain new knowledge, skills, and insights which you can apply in the future.
- Strengthens relationships – You show trust and vulnerability when you ask someone for help.
- Relieves stress – Attempting to handle everything on your own can lead to stress and burnout.
- It creates a culture of reciprocity – When you ask for help, others are more likely to ask you for help when they need it.
Remember that you are only one person, you don’t need to do it all, and you don’t need to do it alone. You have unique qualities and attributes, you should share these qualities with others. Asking for help is therefore not a sign of weakness, but rather a display of strength, wisdom, and humility. It benefits not only you who is seeking assistance, but also the people you turn to for support. It creates a culture of collaboration and mutual growth, and it’s an essential component of personal and professional development.
Go out, be healthy, and know when to ask for HELP to live your best life.
MEET THE EXPERT
Monique Marais is a registered social worker at Care@Midstream sub-acute, specialising in physical rehabilitation for the past 11 years. She has a passion for the medical field and assisting people to understand and manage their diagnoses and the impact on their bio-psychosocial well-being.
Header image by FreePik