Emdeel
A:

Hi Emdeel,

Glad you checked in. So sorry to hear that your brother is suffering. But he is fortunate to have you and your other family members in his court. All too often, in my experience, family members kind of take a hands off approach. It's good to know you all are strategizing on how to help him.

I think an intervention can be a very good idea. It might help to consult with a mental health professional beforehand, who could meet with you and advise you, and who might also be available to treat your brother if he chooses to move forward with treatment.

What I would encourage you to do is to speak out of love and concern. And state this upfront.

I would also encourage you to keep your discussion evidence based. Give him examples of behaviors that you have observed in him that have given you cause for concern. Try to be specific. And how you have been concerned for him when you have seen him behaving or feeling this way. It would also help to have some information about the symptoms of depression, maybe something you can give him to read.

If you have someone he really respects who is also concerned, like a respected family member or friend, you might ask them to be involved in the discussion. Though of course be careful about "outing" him to someone he would not want involved in this part of his life. Respect his right to privacy.

I would also encourage you to have some resources that he can use, the name of a therapist, for example, or a clinic. You might also encourage him to talk to his physician if you don't have other resources. And if you know his doctor, you might also ask his doctor to talk to him about depression.

And remind him that the absolute bravest thing someone can do is to admit they need help and then reach out to ask for help.

Keep in mind that he has freedom of choice. He doesn't have to do anything he doesn't want to do.

If he refuses to talk to you about this, it is his choice. You might emphasize how much you love him and how concerned you are. And let him know you are here for him if he wants to talk.

Going forward, "teachable moments" might arise. For example, if you see him feeling especially low, or isolating himself, you might gently remind him that there is help, that he doesn't need to feel that way.

I know how difficult it is to have a family member who you know needs help but is in denial. It may take time and patience and a lot of compassion.

Also, if you suspect he may be contemplating self-harm, e.g. if he makes statements about having a plan to harm himself, you can also call 911 and request assistance.

Again, your brother is fortunate to have you in his life. I am hopeful you can persuade him to reach out for help.

In the meantime, you might want to get some help for yourself. It could help a lot to talk with a mental health professional about how this is effecting you, your family members might consider this as well. And you might get some additional ideas about how to help your brother.

Take good care of yourself!

Gary

Answered By Answered by Dr GaryCA
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