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My Brother Is Depressed and Refuses Help

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My Brother: “is 21 and living with his family, he has never applied for a job, the family has moved to Germany about 6 years ago. He finished school two years ago” . He was never an outgoing person but he did have friends from his school days. Starting from last year he’s been undergoing ever more increasing depression. At first he was only feeling down sometimes, but now he doesn’t speak, even when directly spoken too. He doesn’t talk about his depression with anybody, actually he doesn’t talk with anybody at all nor does he leave the house at all. In the last few months he’s even developed a tick (he sometimes inhales very quickly and loudly as if he’s shocked). His lack of communication has made it impossible to get him professional help. He refuses any kind of professional care. My family and I are clueless on how to deal with this issue, how can we help someone who not only refuses professional help but also ignores almost all communication? (From Germany)

My Brother Is Depressed and Refuses Help

Answered by on -


 The fact that you see your brother decompensating and that he has developed a tic may prompt the need for medical attention first. While he may not want to seek psychiatric help, your brother may be open to a physical exam. I think this might be the first step.

Your love and concern for your brother may be something that can help. Find a way to talk to him about the tic as something that should be checked out medically. You might even offer to go for your own check up at the same time with him. Support for him during this time might be very important.

In any case, a physician would be in a good position to make recommendations for a diagnosis, medication, or therapy.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

My Brother Is Depressed and Refuses Help

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). My Brother Is Depressed and Refuses Help. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 9 Sep 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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