Tag Archives: concern

5 Ways to Refer People Who Hurt to Professional Mental Healthcare

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness   (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

25285772 young woman consoles senior adult female

A sixty year old woman had two grown sons in their late twenties still living at home. They stole food, borrowed the car without asking, and paid no rent. The mother grew severely depressed over this, as every line she drew, her husband erased.

“I don’t think I can take much more”, she said. “I need someone to hear me, talk with me, and help me make it through another day.”

Occasionally we may run into someone whose mood appears deeper than most. It is short-sighted, and indeed dangerous to play diagnostician. Unless we are highly trained in psychology and therapeutic processes (at least a Master’s degree), we cannot claim to know what anyone needs. Our experience alone is not an accurate measure of the pain, disorder, or mental health of someone else. 

How can we suggest a troubled person see a professional? 

A general fear of making such a suggestion is that the person may become angry or upset. The key to any kind of diplomacy is calm, respect, and truth. 

Option 1:  “I care about your well-being. Your needs are greater than I can meet. How about seeing a medical doctor, a psychiatrist, to find out if more can be done medically or through therapy?”

At that point, you may offer to find such a doctor or drive to the first appointment. If the person you are referring prefers to start with his or her General Practitioner, help to compile a thorough list of symptoms to take to the doctor’s office. 

Option 2:  “Many people who have felt hopeless have found greater satisfaction and well-being through a combination of medication and therapy. I’d like to see that happen for you.”

You may offer them a list of resources, and perhaps make the calls. 

Option 3:  “All this may seem hopeless to you now, but situations and people can change. Do you think your family would agree to family counseling? Even so, you deserve to focus on yourself until you regain a sense of control over your well-being. A therapist could teach you how to cope more easily.”

Option 4:  I’m concerned about your mood. Let me take you to the ER for an assessment. They will give you appropriate recommendations. I’m uncertain about your safety.” 

Smile with a non-judgmental attitude. Show you care through sincere, non-critical acceptance.

Option 5:  In an extreme case of suicidal threats, say,  “What you are telling me is important. I will take you to the hospital now or call 911. Which do you prefer?”

Every one I have met who has lost someone to suicide still struggles with the question, “why?” Many carry false guilt wondering, “What should I have done differently?” 

I try to remember I’d rather have someone mad at me than dead. A loved one I forced to go to the hospital was angry for years. The loaded shotgun found laying openly on the floor by his bed resolved any regret I may have momentarily felt. 

It is hard to confront people this way sometimes. It is worth it to see them healthy and whole.

Today’s Helpful Word  

1 Corinthians 13:7 

Love … It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”



NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.

How Is Your ‘Helping’ IQ When a Loved One Is Hurting?

Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness, Addiction, and Abuse   (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

The other day I was looking at IQ information online.  There is some debate about what tests and measures of intelligence actually prove. They cannot provide insight into the character of a person or even how they perceive the world. For example, one report suggested that artists may not do as well as scientists on IQ tests because of their point of view. 

A woman who loved her forty-something year-old son, would mention his need for a better job  every time she visited. I believe she meant no harm. Her idea of helping was to try to control circumstances.

She asked me one day what she was doing wrong because her son was distancing himself. What I told her and have pondered since, is the basis for this post.

A world of difference between control and healthy concern

Are you concerned for a loved one who is struggling ? Take a moment to look at the following comparison. A higher ‘helping’ IQ will fall on the concern side.

Knows the answer 
Desires results above all 
Expresses frustration, anger, disappointment at slow or ‘incorrect’ results, places blame
Seeks ways to “fix” the situation or person, manipulative 
Wants in on gossip or rumor, or spreads such 
May feel overly anxious at the prospect of situation or person not changing 
Feels guilty if they cannot fix the problem 
Does not listen 
Offers pat answers, quick-fix solutions, or false hope based on incomplete understanding of person/needs 

Humble, ready to learn
Wants to extend love above all
Patient, respects other person’s right to choose
Offers aid when asked, or asks before helping. Straight forward
Respects the privacy of others
Feels concern, some worry and anxiety, yet also feels peace by letting go what they cannot control
Feels empathy, pain, or grief, but does not have to own what is not theirs
Actively listens, validates, is genuinely interested
Does not offer what one does not have, is honest and realistic, offers hope based on wisdom

If you see the difference between control and concern, and if how you have tried to help falls more on the control side, you have time to change.  Talk to your loved one and let them know. Ask for their input and listen.

Today’s Helpful Word 



“Straighten up!” Even Hair Can Have a Mood Disorder

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2012 Nancy Virden

photo-24800380-a-shocked-woman“C’mon baby, you can do it!” Switching from cheerleader to beggar, I add, “Oh, Pleeeez.”

The jammed front door is not responding to my direction. No human can hear because none are around. It begins to rain. Of course. Reaching for my umbrella, I hold it over my head and press the button. Nothing.

“Oh man! What’s wrong with you now?” The rain gathers speed and soon is a downpour. Meanwhile, the umbrella becomes the object of frustration. “You dumb thing, you. Why do you choose today to take a nap?”

One more desperate push and the door flies open. I stumble through it carrying thousands of raindrops and a drenched broken umbrella, the latter of which pops open in the living room. “A little late, doncha think?”

I cannot be the only one who talks to inanimate objects. Why I bother, I do not know. Neither demanding from nor cajoling these seemingly moody  items has ever had any effect, at least not in my world.

Take my hair for example. Today  it looks sad and in it’s misery will not do anything I ask. Yesterday it cooperated. It’s true, my hair has a mood disorder. Good hair day, bad hair day, nothing I say to it will affect the outcome.

Demanding that a living human who is struggling with a mood disorder just “snap out of it” is like bargaining with a computer that just froze. It simply does not help.  Instead, an interesting question to ask of ourselves might be, “Am I concerned about this person or trying to control them?”

Take the following quiz; answer with “Controlling” or “Concerned” as you see fit.

(1) She doesn’t want to listen. That is why she is just sitting there. I’ll tell her again, “Get up, you’re depressed because you won’t do anything about it.” I have the advice my loved one needs. I will tell her even if she does not want to listen.

(2) Life would be easier if he weren’t so moody. There is work to be done and now I am stuck doing it. I tell him, “Hey, we need you to get with the program.”

(3) My friend has just lost her parents to a car accident.  Many people are saying, “Let me know if I can do anything to help.” My friend does not know what she needs. She is spending hours a day just staring out a window. Sitting with my friend while she grieves is better than asking what I can do to help.

(4) My son is 42 years old and wasting his life in a loser job. He says he has anxiety. Doesn’t he know his family deserves better? Every time I see him I remind him of his potential and wish him luck in finding a better place of employment. 

(5) It is difficult watching my elderly mother struggle with daily life. I have repeatedly told her to sell the house and move into assisted living. It is past time to lay off and respect her wishes. I will just pray now and watch God work.

(6) I miss him. He is my best friend and so withdrawn lately. I want my husband to be there for me again. So I will try to cheer him up by being especially nice tonight.

What did you decide? 1,2,4,and 6 are examples of controlling attitudes and behaviors even if subtle. It’s not wrong to wish life were easier or to want the best for someone. It is crossing the line from concerned love into an attempt at control when our agenda is really for our own good more than for theirs.

It is a valuable lesson to remember – people are not to be “handled,” they are to be accepted.

Whether a person is struggling against Depression, Bipolar Disorder, a Personality Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, Anxiety, or another mental health issue, nothing but compassionate love is worthwhile. Compassion does not reprimand people for their feelings. It does not try to manipulate another’s response to life events.

It listens. It visits. It prays, and allows God to have the whole situation. After all, aren’t our loved ones in better hands with God than with us?


NOTE: I am not a trained or licensed mental health professional. I am not a doctor. I speak only from my experiences with and observations of mental illness.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.