How Do I Help Someone That Doesn't Want Help?

by Clark
(Missouri, USA)

Not me, a friend of a friend is going through a very nasty divorce and is incredibly depressed and has reported that they are "seeing things" (we aren't sure what he means, specifically). He has attacked and injured multiple close family members and even once attacked a stranger. He was held for a short time due to the assault, but was later let go and has received no professional help.

We don't know of any avenues we can explore to get him help, because he doesn't think that he has a problem or needs any help. It is to the point that my friend and I are concerned that our mutual friend is a general danger to themselves and/or others, but no specific threat has been made. Without specific information or a threat, there isn't much local authorities will or can do; they can't seem to act just because we are concerned for this person.

Any advice or insight is appreciated.

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by: Dana


I'm so sorry that your friend is going through this. I realize you submitted this question a few days ago so I'd be curious to see how this person is doing now?

This person sounds deeply depressed and perhaps schizophrenic since he's 'seeing things'. Generally speaking, you can't help someone that doesn't want it. It's critical that they assume responsibility and accountability and take the necessary steps toward their own healing. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom before people are willing to get the help they need. Sounds like this person isn't too far from rock bottom already.

If the person were to see a therapist and the therapist feels they are a danger to themselves or others, they can report it and the authorities would need to do something. Its unfortunate if he won't go see someone.

You may want to consider staging an intervention. Usually there are local resources experienced with this that can help.

Sounds like those around him may need to put measures into place to protect themselves. Not sure if there are grounds for a protective order but worth looking into. Other than that, defining boundaries and staying away from someone that may be a threat to you is critical.

Without a lot more detail, I can't add much more.

Stay safe!


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