Let’s face it: life can be hard sometimes. And that’s been especially true in the last few years. We’ve been isolated and anxious as we faced the worst public health crisis in modern history. There’s been civil unrest, economic turmoil, empty store shelves, and abundant fear of what tomorrow might bring.

In other words, we’ve all been through a lot. And many of us need help in contending with what has passed and in looking ahead to find brighter days to come. The problem, though, is that it’s not always easy to ask for help. In fact, it takes a great deal of courage to admit that you’re struggling and need some support.

But when you learn to reach out for help when you need it or to accept it when it’s offered, the mental health benefits you reap in return are immense. All it takes is that first bold step toward support.

Self-care Alone Isn’t Enough

Ours is a culture that privileges self-sufficiency and autonomy. We celebrate those who go it alone because we mistakenly believe that the strong silent types among us are the ones with real grit and fortitude. And that often means that we mistake denial and self-neglect for courage and strength.

The reality, though, is that there are some battles that you just can’t win alone. Trying to get through tough spots with only self-care can worsen things. For instance, if you are experiencing clinical depression or severe anxiety, trying to manage the symptoms on your own will likely only exacerbate your condition. 

You need the support of someone trained and experienced in the field of mental healthcare to light the way through the darkness, to catch you when you begin to fall. Licensed therapists and mental health counselors can give you the objective and compassionate perspective that your illness has likely deprived you of. 

Similarly, if your symptoms stem from a physiological disorder, a trained physician or psychiatrist can treat you with the appropriate combination of pharmaceutical and talk therapy. Without this support, you may never be able to return to the healthy, happy, hopeful you that you deserve and were meant to be.

It Takes a Village

Learning to ask for help as a means to achieve mental and emotional wellness doesn’t only mean seeking out psychological care when you need it. There are many ways to ask for help that will boost your wellness in mind, body, and spirit alike.

For instance, in the aftermath of the pandemic, many students at all levels have transitioned to online learning. And while the benefits of virtual schooling are myriad, this form of learning is not without its challenges. This is why reaching out to professors, academic advisors, and school counselors when you are struggling with online courses is essential. Not only will this enhance your academic performance, but it’s also going to boost your confidence and decrease your risk of depression and anxiety.

Finding Social Support

When it comes to getting the help you need when you find yourself in trouble, there are few better places to turn than to the people you love and who love you. Cultivating a robust social support system is critical to maintaining mental health

This is why, if you find yourself feeling lonely, sad, or isolated, you should call up a friend and simply chat for a while. Likewise, you can pay a visit to a family member you haven’t seen in a while. Sometimes, just reconnecting with your loved ones can be all you need to feel better.

If there’s a deeper issue at stake — if you’re facing a dilemma or you’re just feeling troubled — talking it out with someone you trust can be exactly the remedy you need. After all, no one knows you better than your close friends and family, and they can often advise you in ways that a licensed therapist cannot. The insight of a loved one can provide comfort, reassurance, and direction in even your most difficult moments. 

But that help and healing won’t come on its own. No one is just going to show up on your doorstep offering to lend an ear to hear and a shoulder to cry on. You have to ask for it. You have to reach out.

The Takeaway

Asking for help when you’re struggling isn’t easy. Whether you’re grappling with depression and anxiety, or you’re facing difficulties in school, you may feel embarrassed or afraid to admit you need support. And yet there are few acts more courageous than reaching out when you need someone or accepting an offer of help when it’s given. When you learn to do this, though, you will discover that the rewards for your mental and emotional well-being are profound and enduring. There is, indeed, no weakness in seeking support. Rather, it’s the strongest among us who know when and how to seek the help they need.