On the psych wards where I work, we encourage our patients to reach out to their friends and family for support. I have a standard pep talk to urge reluctant patients to do this. When they take our advice, patients usually report they’re glad they did.


I never ask patients to do anything I wouldn’t do in my life. I hate asking for emotional support. I’m much more comfortable soldiering on by myself. But I don’t want to be a hypocrite, so when I’m feeling blue or struggling, I force myself to reach out to a loved one. Suffering alone isn’t good for humans. Most people are hard-wired to need each other, and science has proven we’re both happier and healthier if we have human support when we’re sick or distressed. It’s not easy to ask for help, but we usually feel better when we do.


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