What's stopping you getting help?

People need other people – being able to rely on others when appropriate is an important sign of maturity and confidence. Don’t let inappropriate ‘independence’ or rigid views about seeking help get in the way of you finding support.

Beliefs depression loves to see:

  • What are you afraid of?”If I ask for help it means I’m weak/dependent/a failure.”
  • “Only crazy people have mental health problems – no way is that me!”
  • “Big boys (or girls) don’t cry. I just have to tough this one out.”
  • “I’m a grown up. I have to do this on my own, not look for crutches.”
  • “No one else has any idea what I’m feeling, so how could they help?”
  • “This touchy-feely, navel-gazing counselling stuff is for wimps or loonies…”

Thinking in these ways is part of the depressed thinking habit which helps sustain and reinforce the depression habit spiral. They include unrealistic all-or-nothing and perfectionist elements, or reflect stereotypical cultural attitudes.

Asking for help can feel very scary. You might fear rejection or ridicule, or you might fear losing control. You may be concerned about dependence – on medication or on people. You may have been let down in the past and fear it happening again. You might fear not getting enough help. If you are actively suicidal, you may fear losing your freedom.

Doing nothing is also risky

You will find these fears addressed in various ways throughout this site. All actions are risky, but so is inaction – doing nothing about the depression affecting you is likely to allow it to intensify. You may put yourself at serious risk. This ‘Build support networks’ section will help you think about the best way to get support. The next steps are to:

  • Find out more about the various forms of support and help (see other pages in this section and the ‘Counsellors & doctors’ section).
  • If necessary, identify and challenge the depressed thinking habits affecting your decisions (See ‘Changing attitudes’).
  • If necessary, challenge the cultural stereotypes affecting your decisions (see ‘Wider perspectives’).
  • Decide which form/s of help you feel most comfortable with.
  • Give it a go – what have you really got to lose?

The next page will help you to consider how talking to someone about how you are feeling might help.

Next: Talking to someone

Take Action

Support network planner


Consulting counsellors & doctors
Debating depression
Changing attitudes