i am a 16 year old male. i want to get help for my mental “illnesses”. but i don’t want anyone that i know to find out. that includes my parents. i don’t want them to worry or be sad mad or embarrassed about me. i also don’t want them to look down on me. i know i should talk to them and ask them but i just cant. i cant even tell my friends, even though i do trust them. i am suicidal i do self harm. i took many online tests and they all say i have, bipolar disorder, mania disorder, multi-personality disorder, severe depression, severe anxiety. i feel that some times i just lose my mind. i really do want help but i really really don’t want anyone to find out. i cant keep living like this. and i do know it gets better, but that doesn’t help, i know suicide is a permanent end to a non permanent thing. but i still cant.

A: Self-diagnosis is a very dangerous thing. Regardless of what the tests say, it is doubtful you have all those diagnoses. What you do have is significant distress that should be diagnosed by a professional.

I understand that it’s difficult to ask for help, especially at 16. But here’s the thing: Protecting your parents from your situation isn’t any favor if you end up hospitalized or dead. They would much rather be mad or embarrassed than grieving a son they love. So get over it. The only route to getting help at 16 is to ask for it. Show them your letter and this response as a way to get started. Then have a heartfelt talk about how miserable you are. You can be helped. Therapy does work.┬áBut it only works if the client comes in the door.

In the meantime, if you need to talk to someone, call the counselors at the Boys Town hotline. Counselors are there 24/7 to talk to teens like you who need some support and maybe some practical help. It’s free and confidential. Their website is: www.boystown.org/locations/nebraska-iowa/programs/national-hotline and the phone number is: 888-866-8660.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie