• Beth Perdue

When asking for help is the hardest thing to do

Asking for help is a tricky thing, isn’t it?

We all need help sometimes and, when life gets tough, we know it’s good to have someone close by who cares enough to reach out and offer it.

Deep inside, we all want to be helped.

Yet, so many of us refuse to ask for it and will reject it when it’s offered, even — or perhaps especially — when we need it most.

Take mental illness as an example. Despite statistics showing nearly 48 million people in the U.S. experienced mental illness in 2018, (that’s 1 in 5 adults), many Americans struggle with their symptoms alone and don’t seek help.

In fact, the average delay between the start of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Imagine that, 11 long years of needing help and not getting it.

While the reasons for the delay go beyond resistance to asking for help (including lack of available treatment and no insurance coverage), for many, mental illness is a solitary experience, one they try to tackle on their own.

Here at Help and Hope Southcoast, we want to change those statistics and believe all of us working together can make a difference.

Help us end stigma around mental illness. Whether it’s by taking the first step in getting help for yourself, or supporting a family member or friend, there is something you can do today to make a difference.

Read on for a few ideas to get started.


Three ways you can help.

  1. Talk about mental illness with family and friends and end the silence around the topic.

  2. Share your story of receiving help and how it made a positive difference in your life.

  3. Reach out to your primary care physician or one of the resources below and ask for the help you need.


Do you need help? Sometimes the first step is talking to someone you trust about your concerns. Here are a few local resources to get you started.

  • Coastline can help refer older adults to mental health services in the community. For general information, the public can start by calling Coastline’s main number, 508-999-6400, then dialing 4 to speak with the Information and Referral Department.

  • The South Coast Community Response Corps can be reached at 508-997-4515 or online at southcoastcrc.org. You can find more info online at gnbcares.org.

  • Samaritans of Fall River/New Bedford Local Toll-free hotline number is 866-508-4357 (HELP) and Samaritans Statewide Hotline & text is 877-870-4673 (HOPE). The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24 hours/day) is 1-800- 273-8255 (TALK).


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