Cries for help can often go unnoticed by your loved ones, but your direct cries for help can also fall on deaf ears of those professionals that should be there to support you. So what can you do when your cries for help are ignored?
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Your loved ones might not realise that your cries for help are actually cries for help. A lot of people won’t recognise the signs unless you slap them around the face with it like a wet fish. When you do that, you’ll have their attention. Other loved ones might be more attuned to such cries for help signals, most likely because they’ve experienced it in one form or another themselves. You might also have loved ones that see your cries for help, but don’t want to get involved for whatever reason. Hopefully, the latter won’t be common for you.
The problem is, we don’t often reach out for help until we become desperate. Which, in an ideal world, no one would feel that’s the only way that it can be done. We all need to learn to reach out for support long before we find ourselves in a crisis situation. This is especially true when we finally do reach out, and no one notices or worse, deliberately ignores your cries for help.
I’m guilty of leaving my cries for help until my situation has got far too bad, as I’m used to doing everything on my own, as that’s how my life was forced to be. So before we get into how you can help yourself when you cry out for help, let’s start with an example from my life.
My personal story about my cries for help going ignored comes from my local Mental Health Trust. If you’ve read some of my work from last year, then you might already be aware of how bad my Mental Health Trust was with supporting me, instead choosing to abandon me instead.
In 2016, for the first time since 2003, I reached such a bad state that I was struggling with my mental health. This was largely due to being dragged through a lengthy complaints procedure I made about my Mental Health Trust, in an effort to try to get them to offer support better suited to my needs.
I have existential thoughts about my death all the time, but nothing comes of it. But during the Easter break of 2016, I sent an email to my psychiatrist and manager of the assessment team, an email that stated that, for the first time in my life, I was having thoughts about planning my suicide. I told them I’d been having thoughts about what to write in my suicide note. Normally, I never plan my suicide in any way in advance. My attempts are always reactionary to when my darkness gets so bad that I impulsively just try to kill myself.
For example, the last time I tried I’d gone out with my friends drinking, had a great night, and was happy right up until the point I crossed the threshold to my building. The second I crossed that, I was so deep in despair that I tried to kill myself the second I got into my flat. That’s how it usually happens to me.
The fact that I was thinking about what I’d write in my suicide note and who it would be written for, was very unusual for me. Hence, making a point of telling someone I thought would also share my concern, being the professional in charge of deciding if and what treatment I would be allowed to do.
I sent this email off detailing what was going on with my thoughts and how I’ve never, ever, had thoughts like this before. The reply I got was shocking. They replied to my email but ignored my comments about my suicidal thoughts and planning, even though that made up almost the entire email content.
At this point, we were about two years into my complaint about the Mental Health Trust, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they ignored my cries for help because of that. They really didn’t want to support my mental health and made every effort to make it worse than it was before I first requested support from them.
The Mental Health Trust routinely ignored my communications, chasing up the one-to-one and group support they promised to arrange. They especially ignored my communications when I attempted to chase up on my complaints and the promises they made during both arbitrations.
This total lack of support and disregard for my safety, over such a long time, was a big factor in my crisis. Trying to get support from my Mental Health Trust had been devastating to my wellbeing as they made me fight constantly just to get their attention. But I still reached out when I started planning my suicide note, thinking even they wouldn’t ignore that. But I was so wrong.
To make matters worse, my email about this was not only read by my psychiatrist and manager of the assessment team in charge of my treatment but also by their PA. That means at least two people read it and chose to ignore it, and the dictated reply as well.
Cries For Help: What You Can Do
If your cries for help are falling on deaf ears, loved ones or professional ones, there are still options available to get the support you need, and deserve. What you can do will also depend on the severity of your situation, so please don’t underestimate your risk and pick an option suited to support your needs in the moment.
Try a different approach
As I said earlier, sometimes people just don’t recognise cries for help, so you could try being honest and upfront about it. It sounds simple and straightforward, but often this is the most overlooked approach.
I’m not suggesting this one to be mean, but because it could be an issue for you to get help. Is it possible you’re being unrealistic in what you want from your cries for help? Thus, if you are, people simply don’t know how they can help you.
Work out why
Maybe it could be a case of just working out why your cries for help aren’t being heard. Therefore, working out a way could change that.
Journaling is a good way to help process your feelings and thoughts. It’s a way to rant about your problems when you can’t talk to someone or don’t want to talk to someone. You don’t need a fancy journal to do it, any writing app or old notepad will do.
Complete a safety plan
After having the experience that I had at the hand of my Mental Health Trust, and because I started writing this blog, I created a simple no-frills safety plan and safety plan workbook. The former is to plan ahead for when you might have a crisis, the latter is for when you’re in a crisis, so it can keep you safe and help distract you. To read more about that, you can visit my article about it here or click here to be taken to a page to download both plans.
Search for support
It’s worth checking if your place of employment or education has any support in place to handle such situations. A lot of places are now investing in mental health support and not just universities. Not long ago, I wrote an article about the support that universities offer, focusing on Bristol’s attempts to remedy the issues they were having with student mental health, which you can check out here.
A lot of businesses are now signing contracts with companies that offer e-counselling through apps, along with helpful CBT and wellbeing modules. So it’s worth checking out if your place of work is one of those that have taken steps to support their employees’ mental health.
However, a word of warning, there’s no guarantee that your place of education or business will offer any useful support. So this might not be the best solution if you’re in a crisis.
Finding alternative support
This can take many forms, from looking for support groups on social media sites like Facebook and Reddit to searching for more professional support. However, it should be noted that although social media groups can be supportive and helpful, such sites aren’t the be-all and end-all.
One of the best things you could do is check to see what’s available in your local area in the way of support. If that doesn’t help, you could do a more general search for support, or even check out my Global Crisis Lines And Support and UK Crisis Lines And Support pages to see if that has useful support contacts for your area of the world.
My Global Crisis Lines And Support and UK Crisis Lines And Support pages contain links to many services that offer telephone, SMS, live chat, and email methods of communication to help you in your time of need. So please check it out if you’re looking for support. Just click the link for your preferred method of communication, then look for your country. I listed them that way as I hate talking on the phone, and prioritise every other method first.
If you live in England and Wales, you could also try searching for your nearest Mind for support by clicking here, if it’s not an emergency.
Visit your local emergency department
Your emergency department is there for you in your time of crisis, even mental health crises, so don’t worry about seeking help from your nearest ER, A&E, or emergency department. This is what they’re there for. You can also call the emergency services for support.
This one is more for after the fact. If you reached out for support from a professional and they’ve ignored you, please make a complaint if you’re feeling strong enough. Reaching out for help in our time of need is hard enough, but to then be ignored by professionals who are meant to be the ones that aid us in such times costs lives.
One of the first articles I wrote when I was just starting out as a blogger was about a news story I read whereby a doctor mocked a patient in anxiety-induced distress (Doctor Mocks Patient: A Failure In Their Duty Of Care). I was so disgusted.
As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, feel free to share your experiences with your cries for help in the comments section below as well. If you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, then sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, get push notifications for new articles by clicking the red bell icon in the bottom right corner.
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Unwanted Life readers.