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.
If you’d like to learn more about journaling, then click here.
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.
74 thoughts on “What To Do When Your Cries For Help Are Ignored”
I think it is so important to advocate for yourself. I struggle during my low times to get the help I need. And it’s exhausting to keep asking when your in a mind set that makes everything hard. I really hope for better automated options to get appointments and continue the options they have started during COVID to meet with doctors at home.
You’re able to have your doctor meet you at your home at the moment?
This post is so needed. Very honest and raw. I can’t believe the reply you got to your email, so unprofessional to not even mention what you had wrote about. I feel as though this post will help so many people.
I sure hope it does help someone, if they find themselves in such a situation
I seriously don’t understand how can people ignore your cries for help, that’s so sickening. But I’m really grateful that you wrote what can be done even if it’s ignore, there’s always a way
Indeed, there is always a way
Your experience of seeking support sounds awful and I’m sorry you had to go through that. I would have expected friends and family to not recognise the signs but not professionals. The advice you give, however, is really helpful and important for people with the same experience to take on-board. In particular, finding alternative support and not giving up because one experience isn’t reflective of every professional.
As long as you don’t give up, you can distract yourself with whatever you need to until the urges pass
I love your idea about having a safety plan. We desperately need better mental health options available.
We certainly do need more and better options
I like this post because I feel it offers hope for people.
I hope it does ?
All tips that you listed are good. I usually do the no. 1 & 4. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks for reading ?
In less saner climes such as where I come from, it’s difficult getting listening ears to your plight. Religion is the closest form of help one can get. One way I get over this issue is creating a system of personal self worth appraisal from the things I love doing.
As long as you have something that works for you, that’s all that matters
I am so sorry that people were not there for you in your time of need; that is disheartening to read. No one should have to feel this way and be responded to this way. I did enjoy your wrap up in your article of strategies for when the right thing just doesn’t happen.
Hopefully the list at the end will be enough to help someone in need
I definitely need to work on being more honest and upfront with my loves ones and professionals when I’m feeling bad! Also love the idea of a safety plan, I have one myself that me and my therapist worked on together x
Safety plans can be quite a useful harm reduction tool
Thank you for sharing such a personal story, it’s such a great idea to share some tips and advice as well for those in a similar position 🙂
I try my best to combine advice and information with a personal account when I can ?
Thank you for sharing this deep information that’s so much needed and also huge thanks to you for taking us through your journey to help the next person who might fight himself/herself in the same situation. I’m very sorry you experienced the ignorance and went through that you seem like a strong person. I also went through the problem of being ignored in many cases by my loved ones to a point of not reaching out to them anymore. Your tips are great creating a safety plan seems like a good idea I’ll look into it. Hoping to see more of your work since i became a friend by subscribing keep well.
Sorry to hear you also went through something similar, but don’t ever give up on reaching out for help when you need it. I hope you find creating a safety plan useful
Unfortunately, cries for help go unacknowledged more often than we think. Thanks you sharing your honest story and trying to help people, as always ?
Thanks for reading ?
I find it unbelievable that people working in the medical and mental health field can ignore the cries of help from the people who are reaching out to them for help. That said, I love your alternative tips for creating a safety plan and, most of all, for encouraging people to reach out and complain. Enough voices have a chance at creating change. 🙂
Indeed, collectively we are powerful
It’s hard when you feel like no one’s listening or understanding your situation. Aside from these tips, it’s also important to believe in yourself and get stronger from within to be able to cope with any crisis. Thanks for these!
Indeed, it’s always good to work on yourself
A safety plan is so important for anyone going through a struggle with their mental health. That is one aspect that I learned early on in my personal journey. There are going to be times where you’re having to deal with your struggles alone for a variety of reasons. By making a plan before we’re in that dark place, we are setting ourselves up to better manage the challenges that we will face.
Having a safety plan is a great idea ?
Thank you for sharing such personal stories, and I’m sorry you had to go through that struggle without help. It really is so important to spread awareness about this and hope to one day have ample mental health resources easily available for anyone who needs it
Awareness is the first of many steps
This is an incredible post! It’s so true that often people are receptive when we need that support and it often silences us. Then people ask why we didn’t say something! I agree that often the best way is the most simple and direct ‘I need help’ rather than trying to show people how we feel by our actions which can be misinterpreted. It’s great that you included safety plans in this article and loads of signposting too!
People can be blind to clues we’re struggling because we wear are masks of doing great so well
Great post! A very interesting read. Thanks for sharing!
MagicandBliss | https://magicandbliss.com/
This post is needed especially now as there is a major mental health crisis and nowhere near enough support out there or even sign posts of how to get help
Yeah shocking how so much mental health support just disappeared during the lockdown, and weren’t replaced with any sort of backups or alternatives, like phone or video chat sessions
Glad you are sharing your story like this. I wish you lots and lots of Happiness.
This is very needed post. Thanks for sharing, it’s very informative and useful article.
This is a really useful post. There’s a lot of suicides even amongst celebrities in my part of the world ever since this covid- lockdown began. People are desperate for help. And I have never thought of someone telling what you can do when that help isnt available. Really thoughtful post.
These are some exceptionally difficult times at the moment, so we have to look out for each other
Thank you for providing your personal experience. Mental health is so important, and yet often is so thoughtlessly disregarded – even by health experts. Your post is sure to help those who are in need of a helping hand.
Thank you, I hope it does
As someone who is currently walking on her rock bottom, i find this article super helpful. It is difficult when people don’t realize that something is wrong and do not dig a bit deeper… I struggle to ask for help, because I am usually the person who is there for everybody and it sucks to realize and see that I have nobody here for me and I literally have to go through it alone. Thanks for writing this.
I’m sorry to hear you’re going through some tough times at the moment, but you’re never alone, even if your friends and family don’t pick up on the signs, there’s always a professional on the end of a phone or an SMS service waiting to support, never forget that
This is very good. I think I try one time and if its ignored. I look after myself on my own haha. however, , I will try this.
I hope following this will mean you won’t have to do it on your own anymore
Making that cry for help can be so difficult for people, not knowing how people will react being a major part of it. So you’d at least want good support from the professionals you reach out to. I’ve had a reasonable experience on the whole, other than a doctor who was clueless and counselling that went round in circles to the point I never ended up going.
Sounds like your counsellor might have been chasing the answer to a hypothesis they formed, which they weren’t willing to let go. Although I could be wrong, given I’m basing that on a single sentence
Talk to your close ones! Or share it with a stranger. It helps a lot.
Indeed it does
I’m so sorry that you had such a hard time! I sometimes feel like my pleas are ignored, as well. It can be hard to deal with. Your tips are great, thank you for sharing.
I hope the tips help you if you find yourself in such a situation again
This is how I started blogging! My cries for help were ignored and ridiculed by others because I was able to survive under a shroud of confidence and cheerfulness. I am so afraid of conflict and tried to make everyone happy while fighting to keep my inner self alive.
I hope writing your blog as helped you then, but it also seems like you’re struggling to people-pleasing tendencies, which will just add to your burden. You’re happiness is just as important as anyone elses, you’re also not responsible for trying to make everyone else happy. Put your needs first
Absolutely agree!! It can be difficult at times as I was taught to put everyone first before myself…. even till this day, others judge mothers who don’t sacrifice themselves completely for their family if they ask for time to be alone or to have a break… it’s infuriating!
Unfortunately, the world does demand more from a mother than a father, but hopefully that’ll be addressed as the world and society evolve
It’s hard to advocate for yourself when depressed or suicidal, but you did it and I’m glad! These are all great tips. If one counselor or agency does not seem like a match, it’s important to know there are more to turn to. Mental health hotlines and suicide hotlines are available 24-hours and are free.
Indeed, there are always options available
Sorry to hear about your negative experience, but glad you shared your story. Thank you! My biggest lesson was that it is OKAY to ask for help, as I often wouldn’t even put myself in a position to be ignored to begin with by battling alone. Solid advice here.
I was much the same way before too, so I’m glad you’ve learned to reach out for help when you need it
I am so sorry to hear that you went through this. You are brave and generous to share your experience and all these great coping mechanisms and resources!
Thank you ☺️
It is inhumane to ignore people’s cry for help, having professionals do that is criminal. They should be held accountable. I am so glad you didn’t go through with it! Only you know how you feel and what you are going through! Being so honest and raw must be so hard, I just hope it was healing. thank you for sharing!
Darina from daramiblog
The people at my mental health trust didn’t get any kind of punishment for ignoring mine, even though it was part of my complaint. I really hate my mental health trust
I think journaling can be such an invaluable way to process your thoughts. It also helps to journal purposefully about specific things like good memories and personal interests and the better emotions that they invoke, as a distraction.
I just asked a “friend” for support. All I wanted was to not feel alone. I literally got ignored. I was there for this person but when I need someone in my corner, I was abandoned. It was the first time I’ve directly asked for help and it didn’t go well.
Maybe you might benefit from creating a list of people and organisations you can contact who you can reply on. My Crisis Lines page has details for organisations across the world, which might help you get started