I self-harm and I have been depressed for about 5 years. Sometimes I feel fine for a few months but its been getting worse. I think I might have other problems but I just don’t know because I’ve never seen anyone about it. Only a one of my closest friends know how I feel. Its really starting to interfere with my school and work. I can’t concentrate, I feel useless and I don’t know what to do with myself. I can’t talk to any of my family because I wouldn’t know how, and I angry at my dad for divorcing my mum and taking my car away even though I really need it.
I finally feel brave enough to get some help but I don’t know where to start. I don’t have a doctor and I don’t know if I should see a therapist or a psychologist or what. I also don’t want my parents or anyone else to know that I have a problem. I don’t have a lot of money either. Where do I start?

A: You’ve taken the first important step toward taking care of yourself by writing to us here at PsychCentral. Give yourself credit for that. It takes courage to admit that you need help. The answer to your question is yes, you should see a mental health counselor for an evaluation. You can trust that a counselor will ask the kinds of questions that will help you describe what you are thinking and feeling. That’s what we’re trained to do. Your counselor will then give you his or her understanding of your problem and some suggestions for what to do about it.

I tried to find a resource in your community but was unsuccessful. Fortunately, you are close to a large city where there are many mental health clinics and practices. Check out this website. You’ll need to make some phone calls to ask whether there are low-cost options.

Since you are legally an adult, it is up to you whether your parents know you are seeking treatment. Therapy is private and confidential.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie