Telling My Parents That I Am Depressed

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I think I’m depressed and I don’t know how to tell my parents. Please help me. I think I’m severely depressed because I’ve been so disconnected lately. I’ve been growing more and more anti-social, I’m suddenly losing sleep and becoming more irriatable even if I try hard to be nice. I’m also having at least 10 suicidal thoughts per day. Can you tell me how the heck I’m supposed to tell my parents when I can’t stop thinking that they’ll only make fun of me and not believe me? Please?

A. I’m sorry that you are experiencing a difficult time. Even if you believe that your parents will not react appropriately I would still encourage you to tell them. At this point, you don’t know for certain what their reaction will be. The best way to know is to tell them.

You can try saying something like this: “This is difficult for me to say. I have been concerned about your reaction but I have something very serious to tell you. I believe that I may have depression. I have suicidal thoughts at times. These thoughts are frightening and I don’t know how to handle them. I believe that I need help. I am serious about wanting help. Can you please help me?”

If you do not feel comfortable speaking to them about these issues then consider writing a letter explaining your feelings. You should inform your parents that you wrote to us at Psych Central. You can show them your letter and my response. This might underscore the seriousness of your concerns.

Your parents may not know how to find you help. If not, I have several suggestions. One way is to speak to your pediatrician or family doctor. They can refer their patients to a local psychiatric treatment center for a thorough evaluation. You should be evaluated by a therapist. You can locate local therapists by searching various directories. I would recommend calling five to 10 therapists and speaking with them directly about your situation. You can do this independently but your parents may want to be involved. Lastly, consider speaking to the school guidance counselor. He or she may be able to help you access treatment. The guidance counselor may also be able to speak to your parents on your behalf.

Suicidal thoughts should always be taken very seriously. Mental health professionals understand this and so should your parents. There are ways to access help for your depression but first you need to make your parents aware of how you are feeling. They cannot help you if they do not know what’s wrong. I know that telling them will not be easy but it is necessary for your mental health and wellbeing. I hope this answer motivates you to speak to your parents so you can get the help that you need and deserve. Thank you for your question. I wish you well.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Jun 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Telling My Parents That I Am Depressed. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/06/11/telling-my-parents-that-i-am-depressed/