Dear Carolyn: My brother is 33 and still lives at home with our parents. He has a law degree but has not worked in years. Our parents are elderly and depend on him to drive them to work and do grocery shopping.
Everyone involved — including my brother — knows he needs therapy to work through his depression but he won’t do it. He tried to approach a therapist once and was told she was not taking new clients. My brother took that as yet another rejection in his life, and can’t get the courage to approach another therapist. My parents would like to retire and move near their granddaughter, but they fear if they left he would commit suicide. How can we convince him to get the help he needs?
Find another therapist for him and make the appointment, even going with him. Apparently he knows what he needs to do but the barrier to entry is too high for him in his current emotional state.
So, help him over the barrier.
The homework of finding someone nearby is something you can do by phone, online and/or via email — meaning, even if you live far away.
Once you have found someone and scheduled an appointment, then your parents can take over to make sure he gets there, or you can plan a brief visit to make sure he gets there and feels supported.
Once he is established — and by that I mean, has a therapist, knows where it is and where to park and how long it takes to get there, and knows what an appointment involves — then the barrier may well be low enough for him to clear without an escort.
He just needs support for getting there enough times for a treatment to take hold, assuming it does.
As you search, keep an eye out for providers who will counsel by video chat or by coming to him.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.