It is difficult to watch someone you care about suffer. It’s even more difficult when they resist getting help. It can be a helpless and frustrating feeling.
Your boyfriend may in fact have depression. The biggest concern is that he has attempted suicide twice in the past. This is a sign that he feels hopeless and lost.
The experience of depression for a teenager can be very intense. Teenagers often feel that there’s no one they can talk to and no one will understand their situation. Because of this, they are often hesitant to speak to their parents and even friends. They may shut down completely. When they feel as though there’s no solution, unfortunately, they too often come to the incorrect conclusion that death is the only answer. Perhaps it was this type of thinking that led to his past suicide attempts.
The message you want to send to your boyfriend is that there are many alternatives to suicide. You want him to know that depression is a very treatable illness. Millions of people suffer from depression and they are helped by mental health professionals. There are treatments that exist but it’s going to require action on his part. It means that he will have to agree to be seen by either a physician or a mental health professional. Stress to him not only the importance of getting help, but that treatment works.
I want to make you aware of the possibility that even if you plead with him to seek help, he may decide against it. There are a few exceptions but in most instances, you cannot force someone to seek help. The only time that you can force someone into treatment or the hospital is when they are in imminent danger of hurting themselves or someone else. That means that if a person states that they are intending to kill themselves or another individual they can be admitted to a hospital against their will. Generally this is the only time an individual can be forced into treatment.
You can also educate yourself about depression and suicide. Here is a link to depression-related information on Psych Central’s website. This may help you understand what your boyfriend is feeling. I would also suggest that you consider contacting his parents about your concerns. You should also speak to your parents about how to handle this situation. They need to know that you’re dealing with a very serious problem. As I mentioned before, the concern is that your boyfriend has a history of suicide attempts. One predictor of future suicide attempts is past suicide attempts.
Please do not feel as though this is your problem and that you have to find a solution for it. Even if you request that your boyfriend seek help, he may choose not to. That is the reality of the situation. At this point, there is little that you can do. He needs more help than you can offer. He needs to see a professional. Please speak to your parents for support and don’t deal with this situation alone. Garner as much help and support for yourself as possible and perhaps your boyfriend. Thank you for your question.