Q. I know that I am suffering from some kind of depression and am pretty sure it is severe. I have gone untreated for about 4 years, so I am too ashamed to speak to my parents or friends about it, and have considered writing a letter to my parents. But my question is regarding getting help. Because without my parents, I have no insurance or any kind of significant amount of money to pay for a therapist or medication. If I cannot tell my parents or they refuse to help, what is the best way for me to seek help?

A. I think you should focus on telling your parents. It’s the first step to getting the help you need. I cannot know this for sure but there is a good chance your parents do not know that you are depressed and if they knew they would probably try to get you into treatment. You need to be honest with them and tell them about your depression.

There is no good or logical reason why you should be concealing this information from your parents. Some people think it’s “weak” to be depressed and that they should be able to fix their problems themselves. This type of thinking could not be further from the truth.

It is a sign of immense strength and courage to ask for help, especially after you have endured four years of depression. Go to your parents or write a letter to them and ask for help. Tell them in whatever manner you are most comfortable with.

In the event that they are not willing to help you then you can seek assistance through a community mental health center (they can offer sliding scale rates or free counseling) or the university counseling center if you attend college.

There is help available and the only thing that may be blocking you from finding help may be you. The power to change this situation for the better is up to you. Please choose to get help.