It’s difficult to sit by and watch someone you love suffer, especially when you know that help is available. It’s a helpless feeling.
Unfortunately, your options are limited. As an adult, your brother has the right to refuse treatment, unless he poses an imminent danger to himself or to others. In many, but not all states, the imminent danger standard prevails. That means that in order to be hospitalized against one’s will, there must be clear and convincing evidence that an individual might harm themselves or someone else.
You can review the commitment laws for your state to determine what would be necessary for an involuntarily commitment. That information can be found on the Treatment Advocacy Center website.
You can and should continue to support your brother and continue suggesting that he seek help. Maybe offer to attend the first appointment with him, if he’d be willing.
Another option to consider is a family intervention. This would involve the family getting together and voicing their concerns as a group. If you choose that option, you might want to consult a family therapist for guidance.
Another idea is to contact the local National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) community group and ask for their assistance. Many communities have a NAMI office, staffed with people who are facing similar problems with their family members.
There may be a local mental health crisis team with whom you can discuss this issue. They may have suggestions for how to deal with your brother.
You might try all of the aforementioned ideas and your brother still might not be receptive. You can’t force someone into treatment if they don’t want it. Sometimes, there are no easy answers to these types of problems. All you can do is try every idea you can think of and when you’ve done that, you will have done all that you can. If you feel as though he might be a danger to himself or to others, contact the authorities. If you have additional questions, please don’t hesitate to write again.