How to tell your parents that you’re depressed

9 times out of 10 they probably know you’re depressed before you even do.

It may seem next to impossible sharing your feelings associated with depression to your parents whom you think they maybe be thinking you’re perfect and don’t want to mess up that image for them. However, it may be increasingly more difficult to talk about when you yourself don’t even know whats going on with yourself. Opening up this communication may aid in helping you figure things out more clearly.

If you think its too hard to talk to them in person, try writing them a letter. I know when I’m overwhelmed with silence I can’t put two words together that make sense. And I often just have a spell of word vomit, that may make the problem worse.

If you don’t have the best relationship with your parents, thats okay. They’re genetically programmed to love you. Try starting with an apology maybe ” sorry I’ve been distant with you guys lately and causing you guys some trouble. ” Then you can go into it.

Once you initially get the conversation started and off your chest the rest will just flow into place. I know they’re going to ask you well why do you feel this way. And this question to this day I cannot answer. You might just say I don’t know. But try and say something like I can’t put into words why I am feeling this way.

Sharing is better than keeping it to yourself. It can also make you more accountable for yourself.

Now if your parents aren’t as supportive as you’d like. Talk to n adult you trust, or one you have a good connection with. Teachers can be a great example or even the schools social worker. They’re trained to point you in the right direction unlike parents.

Some things parents can do on their end;

  • communicate with love and kindness and agree to keeping hurtful criticism, arguments, threats, and putdowns out of the picture
  • remind you that they love and believe in you
  • just show some affection maybe by simply hugging you
  • comment on positive things they see in you
  • talk through problems with you
  • make sure you get proper nutrition and aren’t sleeping all day
  • try and find something you’ll both enjoy doing together
  • get your own councillor or support, so you don’t end up putting your problems on your child

I know some of you may worry that they won’t believe you. This may be true for some. But before going into this conversation maybe go through in your head some of the questions they may ask. One being the famous “are you going to hurt yourself”? Now you don’t want to scare them, but you need to be honest. If they ask something like “where did this come from”, they may just be confused and not know how to react. Say something like ” it took me awhile to understand this feeling of depression myself”. Just remember its not your fault that you’re feeling this way.

Once the conversation goes over good or bad, the hopes is that they’ll connect you with someone like a psychiatrist or a therapist to further help you. At this point you may just shut your parents out and only talk to the professional. But it is crucial to keep them in the loop, because they will be the people that can be there for you 24/7. Im not saying you have to discuss every little thing that you did with your therapist. Please don’t do that, just tell them what you feel comfortable sharing with. And make sure if they ask you how you’re feeling and youre not feeling well that you tell them.

I have a problem where I keep all my issues to myself and I feel only I can fix them. I don't like to ask for help in anything. Depression though has gotten the best of me and I am getting to the end of my tether and I need some kind of help. I want to see my GP about it and would like my Mother to come with me because you know she is my mum after all.

Today is the first time it became really unbearable, real and that I finally realised I need some kind of help. I am currently ill and it makes me feel even worse so I am sitting at home thinking about how bad I feel and how my depression is getting too much and I just started to cry. the past few weeks I have been on the verge of tears but stopped myself I would always say 'you don't deserve to cry what are you crying about?'. Vicious circle but I just broke down today.

Its gotten to the point that I know that I am constantly doubting and second guessing myself. My biggest problem is college at the moment.

I lack the motivation to get up and go to college and it makes me feel guilty. Not only do I feel not going is letting my family down but more importantly myself. I am really self critical, I cant remember the last time I had pride in my work. I thought I did when I modded the side window of my PC case and spray painted it orange a while ago but it turned into actually this is just shit and I would notice everything bad about the job. I want to work in IT specifically hardware and I know I can do it, it comes naturally to me but I feel like I am wasting my time with my BTEC and it makes me honestly terrified I will end up working a job I really hate with no real direction. When it gets to that stage then whats the point? May as well roll over and die.

I know I can talk to my parents about anything they actively encourage such things but I just cant bring myself to tell them I am depressed and need help. Its been around 6 months in which I can safely say I have been rarely happy and I don't feel myself anymore. I was actively known as the laid back always happy kind of guy and to have such a dramatic change in the space of 6 months is really sad to me.

Sorry for the little rant but anyway as the title suggests I need help telling my parents. Some sort of push or personal experience would really help.

I know you have had thoughts of killing yourself, and you are not sure why. You feel worthless, and you want to end it. The pain just won’t stop.

You want to tell someone, but you are afraid to. It’s hard to know what to say and to whom. If you do tell someone, will they reject you? Will they think you are joking? Will they laugh at you? If you tell your parents, will they freak out? If you do say something, then what exactly do you say?

I’m going to tell you something I wish I had the opportunity to tell my son. You see, he died by suicide. After his death, many months later, I realized he wanted to tell me in that last phone call, but he was too ashamed and instead ended his life. I will grieve that loss until the day I die. The world is not a better place without him, and I am devastated. I crave his skinny hugs and that squeaky voice he used when he greeted his dog.

I don’t want your parents to have to endure what I have. So I’m going to tell you what has worked for the dozens of young people who have reached out to me for help on how to tell their parents or another relative they have had thoughts of killing themselves.

I know you don’t really want to die. You just want to stop the pain, and you don’t see any other way out. Your brain won’t let you believe you can feel better, but what is happening in your head is treatable.

1. Make the decision to tell someone.

This takes a lot of courage. I’m asking you, as a mom who has lost the most precious person in the world to her, to please make the decision to tell someone because it will hurt them to lose you. Asking for help is not a weakness, but a strength. It takes guts.

2. Decide who is the best person to tell.

It might not be a parent. It might be an aunt, a grandmother or a teacher. If you don’t tell a person you know, then text the crisis hotline or call the suicide hotline. Sometimes talking to them can help you get the nerve to tell your loved ones.

3. Figure out the best way to tell someone that works for you.

Be direct. Don’t use phrases like, “I want to hurt myself.” Say instead, “I have something very important to tell you. This is not a joke. Can I trust that you will listen? I have been thinking of killing myself, and I need help. I don’t understand these feelings.”

They may say things like, “You have so much to live for!” or “You shouldn’t feel that way.” Be patient with them because they don’t know what to say or do at first. It’s likely they may say something in a way that makes you feel like they don’t understand, and they don’t. It’s up to you to help them understand.

4. If you do not want to sit down face to face, write your mom or dad a message.

It might make you feel anxious to face them directly. It can be good for them to have an opportunity to think and figure out what to do. A letter or message (text, Facebook message or email) can be an effective means of communicating. Many of the people who have reached out to me preferred sending a message and talking face to face after their mom or dad gets the message.

If you are really feeling like dying by suicide right then, do not wait. Call or tell someone now! Don’t wait because we want to save your life.

Many parents tell me that once their child told them they have had thoughts of suicide, they are relieved there was a reason for their child’s behavior. Many times parents can’t figure out why their son or daughter was getting in trouble with police, driving recklessly or getting angry all the time. They are usually stunned, but they are also thankful and grateful. Most of them feel honored that their child trusted them with this information.

You need to say something because suicide could be the last thing on a parent’s mind. They might not think of asking you. This is not because they don’t care, but because it’s the last thing they think you would do. They don’t know how bad it hurts or how close you’ve been. You may have even attempted suicide before, and they have no clue.

If you leave us, then you take with you the gifts that we have not even realized you have. I want you to know you are worth it. The truth is, your parents would rather hear you ask for help than lose you.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

If you need help now, call a 24-hour crisis center at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) for free, private help or dial 911.

Sometimes people who are feeling depressed think about hurting themselves or dying. If you or someone you know is having these feelings, get help now.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)—a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—runs both crisis centers. For more information visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.

Para obtener asistencia en español durante las 24 horas, llame al 1-888-628-9454.

Take the Quiz

Do you think you might be depressed? Complete this quiz to find out if you’re showing signs of depression.

Check one answer for each question that best describes you for the past 7 days.

Source: The Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology 16-Item Self-Report (QIDS–SR16), University of Pittsburgh, http://www.ids-qids.org Original Citation: Rush, A.J., Giles, D.E., Schlesser, M.A., Fulton, C.L.,Weissenburger, J.E. and Burns, C.T. The Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology (IDS): Preliminary findings. Psychiatry Research, 18:65-87, 1986.

Results

You aren’t having any major symptoms of depression. If you’re feeling down, you may just be having a few bad days or mood changes if you recently stopped smoking. These feelings should go away in a few days.

If you are concerned about your feelings or are still feeling sad after 2 weeks, you might want to talk to someone about how you’re feeling.

You have a few symptoms of depression. Right now, these symptoms may not be changing your daily life, but you’re probably aware of them. You might start looking for ways to help your mood.

Manage Your Mood

You could try talking to friends, family, or your doctor. You also might keep track of your symptoms. You could write down how you are feeling or take this quiz every 1 or 2 days. If your score goes up, your mood worsens, or the symptoms are causing problems in your life, talk to your doctor and get help.

How you’re feeling now isn’t how you’ll always feel. People do get better. There are many good treatments for depression.

Smoking and Mood: They’re Linked

It’s common for smokers to use cigarettes to deal with emotions, but there are healthier ways to deal with these situations. Then learn how to boost your mood after you’ve quit.

You have some symptoms of depression. Right now, these symptoms are likely causing problems in your daily life. These problems may be big, like making it hard for you to take care of everyday activities and enjoy the things you usually do. You should get help right away.

Find Help

When you’re feeling depressed, it can be hard to have energy to make a phone call. But having support from others can be helpful. Try talking to your doctor or a therapist. They can help you get treatment to deal with depression. You can also try telling family and friends how you’re feeling.

How you’re feeling now isn’t how you’ll always feel. People do get better. There are many good treatments for depression.

Smoking and Mood: They’re Linked

It’s common for smokers to use cigarettes to deal with emotions, but there are healthier ways to deal with these situations. Then learn how to boost your mood after you’ve quit.

You have many symptoms of depression. Right now, the symptoms may be causing big problems in your daily life. It is probably very hard for you to take care of everyday activities and enjoy the things you usually do. You may even feel like you’re carrying a heavy weight that makes it almost impossible to get through your day.

Take This Seriously

Even if you don’t feel weighed down by your symptoms, try to do something about them as soon as possible. When you’re feeling depressed, it can be hard to even do small things to take care of yourself. But you should call your doctor or a mental health professional today. And try to tell family and friends how you’re feeling.

How you’re feeling now isn’t how you’ll always feel. People do get better. There are many good treatments for depression.

Smoking and Mood: They’re Linked

It’s common for smokers to use cigarettes to deal with emotions, but there are healthier ways to deal with these situations. Then learn how to boost your mood after you’ve quit.

You have very significant symptoms of depression. Right now, the symptoms may be causing you big problems in your daily life. It is probably very hard for you to take care of everyday activities and enjoy the things you usually do. You may even feel like you’re carrying a heavy weight that makes it almost impossible to get through your day.

Get Help Right Away

Even if you don’t feel weighed down by your symptoms, it is important to do something about them right now. When you’re feeling depressed, it can be hard to even do small things to take care of yourself. But you should call your doctor or a mental health professional today. And try to tell family and friends how you’re feeling.

How you’re feeling now isn’t how you’ll always feel. People do get better. There are many good treatments for depression.

Smoking and Mood: They’re Linked

It’s common for smokers to use cigarettes to deal with emotions, but there are healthier ways to deal with these situations. Then learn how to boost your mood after you’ve quit.

This quiz is not meant to tell you if you have major depression. This information does not take the place of seeing a mental health professional for a diagnosis.

Find Help 24/7

If you need help now, call a 24-hour crisis center at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) for free, private help or dial 911.

Sometimes people who are feeling depressed think about hurting themselves or dying. If you or someone you know is having these feelings, get help now.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)—a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—runs both crisis centers. For more information visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website.

Para obtener asistencia en español durante las 24 horas, llame al 1-888-628-9454.

Gonna attempt to make this short. Basically, my (18f) parents are a huge part of why I’m seriously depressed and my options are limited, none are great, but my mothers is the best option. My parents are divorced. Right now I live with my dad and his girlfriend. My dad isn’t the best, but I do love him, I just can’t live with him. His girlfriend, however, is abusive (emotionally/mentally/psychologically) and I can’t live with her. I’ve made this known. Before this, I lived with my grandparents and dad. Again, I love them, can’t live with them. They’re a big reason why I have an eating disorder and my mental health is not good when I’m living there. My mom isn’t the greatest parent, but not a bad person. She cares about and loves me, but she doesn’t support me much, but I can live with that.

I asked her if I can move back in with her, but it’s 1am so I won’t get a response until tomorrow. Her house is more convenient in ways other than my mental health, like way easier to find a job close to home, about 45 minutes closer to school (I have to bus), and close to my boyfriend and friends which I know isn’t a deciding factor but it’s nice lol.

What my problem is, is that my dad and grandparents are gonna take it personal no matter what I tell them. I’m scared but my mental health can’t take living here anymore. Does anyone have any advice on what to say/do?

TLDR: my mental health is at a very low point. want to move in with my mom, my dad and grandparents will take it personal and likely guilt trip me. need advice.

How to tell your parents that you're depressed

Sometimes, depression and anxiety can be tough to identify. Feeling down or on edge can sometimes feel like your normal, or you might think it’s how everyone feels. And when you are in an anxious and depressed mind, it can even feel like you deserve to feel bad. These feelings are common and by working with yourself and a counselor, you can begin to help identify and heal the underlying causes of depression and/ or anxiety.

So, how do you know if you have depression or anxiety? First off, working with a counselor is the sure way to accurately diagnose your specific symptoms. If you’re ready to take the next step in caring for your mental and emotional health, the Y has counseling available for all ages.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, depression can present different symptoms, depending on the person. But for most people, depressive disorder changes how they function day-to-day, and typically for more than two weeks. Common symptoms include:

  • Changes in sleep
  • Changes in appetite
  • Lack of concentration
  • Loss of energy
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Hopelessness or guilty thoughts
  • Changes in movement (less activity or agitation)
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Suicidal thoughts

If you’re wondering if you have an anxiety disorder, consider the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of apprehension or dread
  • Feeling tense or jumpy
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Anticipating the worst and being watchful for signs of danger
  • Physical symptoms:
  • Pounding or racing heart and shortness of breath
  • Sweating, tremors and twitches
  • Headaches, fatigue and insomnia
  • Upset stomach, frequent urination or diarrhea

Just like depression, anxiety has no one-size-fits all cure. Each individual has their own path to recovery and a therapist serves as a guide to healing.

Depression and anxiety are both normal human feelings in the short term, but over time, they can become incredibly harmful to you and those around you. If you believe you are suffering from depression or anxiety, know that you are not alone and there is a pathway to feeling better.

To find a good counselor for you or a loved one, get started today by filling out the Y’s counseling referral form.

Making the decision to tell people that you’re struggling with depression is a big step. Not only is it difficult to let people in during this difficult time, sadly, there are still many misconceptions about mental illness and the last thing you want is to feel stigmatised because of it.

However, opening up about your depression and learning how to tell someone you’re depressed is one of the most effective steps towards recovery and wellbeing – after all, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. Here, we provide advice on how you can go about talking to people about your mental health.

Consider who to tell about your depression

Figuring out how to tell someone you’re depressed can be daunting, however, once you open up about your mental health, you may start to feel a little better. It helps to talk to someone about what you’re going through, but don’t feel as though you have to tell everyone, at least not straightaway. Try to reach out to someone who is a good listener, discreet, trustworthy, reliable, non-judgemental and supportive, so they can offer a different perspective. If possible, it can also be very helpful to speak to somebody who has gone through something similar, as it’s likely that they will be able to empathise with you and provide tips on how to cope.

In terms of telling your employer that you are struggling with depression, the advice on this matter is to inform those that ‘need to know’ so they can support you effectively in the work environment. HR, occupational health and immediate line managers are top of the list on this. Some people have reservations about speaking up at work as they fear that they may be judged, their competence may be questioned or that they may be ‘gossiped ‘ about. However, this is rarely the case and you’re likely to be met with support and understanding. Sharing your troubles with those that have a legal responsibility to support you can protect your employment and give you the opportunity to get help. In addition, many workplaces now have mental health champions, and many corporate and government services have links to various mental health services and bespoke employee assistance programmes. Speaking to the appropriate people in your workplace means that you will gain information on the support that’s available to you, ultimately enabling you to start your road to recovery.

Try to prepare for how they might react

Whilst it’s impossible to predict exactly how your chosen person/people will react when you’ve told them you’re depressed and struggling, it can help to weigh up the different possibilities so you can prepare:

  • If your loved one has never experienced depression, it’s entirely possible that they won’t understand what you’re going through, and why you just can’t stop feeling sad. They might feel like it’s their responsibility to try and ‘fix’ you and try to suggest things that will ‘cure’ your depression
  • Other people may become upset. They may be worried about you and could even blame themselves for not recognising your depression
  • Some people may simply not know how to respond to the news, having never experienced a situation like this before, and therefore, they may try to change the subject and avoid talking about things
  • The person may respond really positively. They may ask you questions about your depression, ask how they can support you, and reassure you that they will always be there for you when you need them
  • It may turn out that the person you confide in has personal experience of depression, or else knows someone who struggles with low mood or another mental health condition. They may therefore be able to empathise with you, or offer words of advice and wisdom that can help you on your recovery journey

Remember, if you feel like your loved one’s reaction isn’t as positive as you would have hoped, it’s very unlikely they’re trying to hurt or upset you – they probably just need time to understand what you have told them and learn ways to support you.

Write down what you want to say

Taking notes can help you gather your thoughts and organise them so you can express yourself in the best possible way. If it makes you feel better, you can even practise saying it out loud before you confide in your loved one.

Do it in a casual environment

Research has shown that doing some form of activity, whether it’s going for a walk, or going out for a coffee, can improve people’s mood. That’s why it’s a good idea to talk to the person when you’re out doing something together that you enjoy. Not only will this serve as a distraction so that both of you can gather your thoughts if needed, but being in a generally better mood is likely to make it much easier for you to open up about depression.

Wait until it feels comfortable

Remember, you don’t have to go into it straight away. Take your time and do it when it feels right. You might prefer to talk to them about something completely different to begin with, ask them how they’re doing, or relax for a while with a cup of tea. When you feel ready, the best way to start is to tell them you have something important that you want to talk about, so they know not to take the conversation lightly. Also, it’s important to be clear whether or not you want them to keep the information to themselves at this stage.

Say what you have practised

When you’re ready, just go for it. Say what you’ve practised, and if you feel more comfortable taking your notes with you, then do so. If you get tongue-tied or shaky then don’t worry. It’s perfectly acceptable to tell the person that you’re finding this difficult. If you find that you’re becoming a bit overwhelmed, then just take a break and come back to the conversation later.

Don’t worry

The chances are that the person you are choosing to confide in is a family member, good friend or someone you are very close to. Although they may be surprised at first and may not know what to say initially, remember that they love and care about you and will want to support you in every way they can.

Seek professional help

Whilst it can be enormously helpful to confide in a family member or loved one about the way you’re feeling, ultimately, depression is a mental health condition that can become progressively worse without professional help. At Priory, we offer a whole range of options for treating depression, ranging from more intensive residential support, to flexible weekly therapy groups. You can call us today or send us an email to find out how we can help you.

For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding mental health and wellbeing, please call 0800 840 3219 or click here to submit an enquiry form. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

Talking to your parents/carers about your mental health can be tricky. By doing a little planning ahead, you can make the conversation a lot easier. Remember: there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Telling someone how you feel can be a big relief! If you don’t feel like you can talk to your parents, speak to someone else you trust.

1. Plan ahead and write down what you want to say

  • Focus on the impact of how you’ve been feeling. You could say: ‘I haven’t been spending time with my friends because I’ve been feeling depressed’ or ‘I’ve been finding it hard to get involved in class because I’ve been feeling anxious.’

2. Prepare for how they might react

  • If they say that what you’re describing sounds normal, you could say: ‘This is more than a bad mood. I don’t know how to manage this on my own.’
  • If they make you feel guilty for how you’re feeling, you could say: ‘I don’t want to feel this way, which is why I think I need some extra help.’
  • Even very loving parents may be shocked, or even react defensively, if they feel they’re to blame for your current difficulties. Give them some time to process things, and perhaps get a friend, family member or health professional to help you have the conversation.

3. Consider putting what you want to say in writing

  • If you’re feeling really nervous about having a conversation with your parents, write them a letter, email or text to start the discussion.

4. Pick a good time and place

  • Try to pick a place where you’ll have your parents’ full attention (e.g. at home on a Sunday afternoon when there’s nothing much happening, or on a family walk, rather than in the car when you’re rushing to get to school).
  • Try to choose a time when you and your parents are all feeling relaxed and open to having a conversation.

5. Let your parents know how they can help

  • Your parents or carers may not know how to help. Have a think about ways they can support you (e.g. by booking a GP/psychologist appointment or checking in regularly with you about how you’re feeling).
  • You could also let them know what isn’t helpful (e.g. asking how you are too often).

6. Get extra support

  • If you are at school, a school counsellor can help you to practise the conversation or talk with your parents about what’s going on with you.
  • You could also speak to a psychologist or counsellor (or a helpline like Kids Helpline) for advice on having the conversation.
  • If you already see a mental health professional, you could consider inviting your parents or carers into a session, to have some support in opening up a conversation about what’s happening for you.

What to do if your parents don’t react the way you want them to

Taking the first step in letting a parent or carer know what’s going on for you can be difficult. Some parents may find this kind of conversation uncomfortable, or it could make them feel scared or sad. But most parents would say that while these feelings are painful for them, they’re worth it in order to know what you’re going through and to potentially help you through it. Some things you can do to feel supported include:

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