Compassionate Boundaries: Refer to the Experts (Eighth of Series)

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse (c)2013  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry 

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Most of us are not mental or behavoral health specialists in a qualified position to diagnose. We may however, suggest to a hurting loved one or friend that they reach out to somebody who can help them more than we.

Earlier in this series, I said to avoid taking on a role that is not yours to fill. This boundary protects both the one you want to help, and you. 

Imagine walking into a small creek in search of a stone. It is an easy and fun challenge.  Let us upgrade the small creek to a small river.  This time you are to retrieve a certain type of stone. Ah, now it’s tougher. 

Finally, the river is a vast whirlpool. Water spins you up to your neck, and you must find a specific stone.  How long before you admit you are in too deep? 

Responding to hurting people by trying to meet their every need is dangerous.  For one thing,  we are not experts. Trained specialists know how to find what we cannot see. They have a better grasp on the human psyche, and the tools to try and meet specific needs. 

One simple statement has the potential to change a life.  “I’ll help you find good professional care.”  It is kind to say, “Others can help you better than I.”


Other posts in this series: Friendship (1) ; God’s Example (2)Values and Family (3) ; Self-Care (4) ;  How to Say No (5) ; Motives Beware! (6)Refuse Blame (7) ;  How to Say Yes (9)



NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.


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