Home Anger Management My Brother Won’t Seek Help for His Mental Illness

My Brother Won’t Seek Help for His Mental Illness

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From the U.S.: My brother is 19 years old and is currently living with me and my parents, he was in college but soon left due to his view of our financial issue. He claims he’s severely depressed and has outbursts a couple days per week, sometimes more. During these outbursts he rants about his mental condition, attacks my and my families insecurities and lifestyles, and even sometimes becomes violent over them. He even threatens suicide on more serious outbursts.

When we try to tell him to get help, he brings up money and therapists not helping. He always says due to him living in a small town and other family issues has caused this, he blames my mother’s mild alcohol problem and other issues, he believes he has always been this way. I don’t know what to do, I’m so worried for his and my mother and fathers well being. I believe I have developed a case of social anxiety over these past years and I’m scared for my future as well as his.

Your brother is very lucky to have such a caring sibling. I’m sure it’s very difficult to have him back in the house and causing so much turmoil. Unfortunately, he is more interested in blaming people for how things are than in doing what he needs to do to make his life better. He covers profound discouragement about his life with excuses and defensiveness. Unfortunately, no one can make him take care of himself. Therapy really would help. (If it didn’t, how could there be so many therapists in the world?)

Since he won’t go, I strongly suggest that the rest of you do so. A therapist can help you and your folks figure out how to handle your brother and perhaps get him into some treatment. Do invite your brother to go along to the appointments. Tell him you are all going to spend the hour talking about him. Knowing that, it’s usually difficult for a person to stay home. Often they want to go along just to set the therapist straight that it’s all everyone else’s fault. A skilled therapist will find a way to engage him.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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