Breaking Down Barriers: Helping Others Overcome Hurdles to Seeking Help

How you can support your loved ones in overcoming hurdles on their path to recovery.

Asking for help is a difficult thing to do. Especially if someone is dealing with conditions like PTSD or addiction. As a friend or family member, it can be difficult to see your loved ones struggling with these challenges and it can become confusing or even frustrating when they don’t reach out for help. 

It’s important to remember, there are lots of hurdles, both mental and physical, that can make it really tough for people to seek support. This article aims to demystify these obstacles, and offers guidance on how you can effectively break down these barriers, so you can get your loved ones the help they need.

Need help identifying the signs of PTSD? Find out more here.

Common Barriers to Seeking Help

Dealing with trauma or addiction comes with its own set of struggles that can make asking for help really difficult. As a loved one, it’s important to recognise these hurdles so you can offer the right kind of support and encourage those struggling to seek the assistance they need. Some common barriers include:

  • Stigma and Shame: The stigma associated with mental health issues often discourage people from seeking help. Many fear being judged, labelled or pigeon-holed based solely on their struggles. 
  • Difficulty Recognising Symptoms: A person may not recognise the signs of PTSD or acknowledge the severity of their addiction, often dismissing their symptoms as manageable or temporary.
  • Self-Reliance: A strong desire to tackle everything by themselves can stop someone from asking for the help they need. This is particularly common when the person is experiencing intense feelings of vulnerability.
  • Confidentiality and Trust: Being unsure if they can trust professionals or keep their struggles private and this can create significant barriers. A person may worry that their personal struggles will become public, or that the treatment providers will not fully understand their experiences.
  • Hopelessness: Particularly in cases of longstanding addiction, a profound sense of hopelessness can take hold, leading a person to believe that no treatment or support system can improve their situation.
Understanding the Help-Seeking Process

The journey to seeking help for mental health challenges involves four important steps which guide a person  from first recognising there’s a problem, to actively reaching out for support. By guiding your loved one through these steps you can make the help-seeking process less daunting and more manageable.

  • Awareness and Appraisal of Problems: The ability to recognise that you have symptoms of trauma and that you need help is generally the first step. If a loved one is in denial, it may take a supportive conversation to help them realise they need help. 
  • Expression of Symptoms and Need for Support: Your loved one must be able to express their need for support to you or others, and must feel comfortable when doing so.
  • Availability of Sources of Help: Sources of support and help need to be both available and accessible to your loved one. Factors such as location, financial status and level of government support can help or hinder this process. 
  • Willingness to Seek Help and Disclose Struggles: It’s important that your loved one is ready to share their struggles openly with their chosen helper, again and again if needed as part of the recovery process. 

For us to help loved ones navigate mental health struggles, we need to find ways to help them recognise they have a problem that they can’t overcome alone, to help them express what they are feeling inside, guide them to places where they can get help, and ensure they are willing to seek out that help.

Support from family and friends, especially for those who are open to or have had past positive experiences seeking professional help, can greatly influence their help-seeking behaviours. Working with your loved one to grow their emotional confidence and helping them to identify and articulate their emotions is also crucial in their help-seeking journey.

Helping Your Loved One Overcome Hurdles to Seeking Help?

If someone you care about is grappling with addiction or PTSD, understanding how to support them in seeking help is an important part of their recovery journey. At Hope in Health, we provide personalised addiction rehabilitation and PTSD rehabilitation treatments tailored to meet the unique needs of each person.

Our compassionate team is here not just for them, but for you too, offering all the support, education and treatment you need to help your loved one on their road to recovery. Give us a call today and we can work together to break down any barriers standing in their way.

Hope in Health

Phone: 1300 445 671




Warriors Advocacy

Phone: (02) 8317 5444




Speak with our team today


return to life

Reach Out