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I Need Help and I Don’t Know How to Ask for It

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From a teen in the U.S.: I feel like I might have manic depression. My mood swings are getting worse over time and it’s concerning me. Everyday is a struggle. I want to find help… but I don’t know to tell my mother that I need it. I’m scared she won’t believe me or something. Any advice.. please?

I Need Help and I Don’t Know How to Ask for It

Answered by on -


Many teens write to us about a similar problem. They know they are distressed but are reluctant to ask for help because they don’t want to have to manage disbelief or criticism. Unfortunately, this only means that things get worse than they need to before the teen gets help.

In general, parents respond negatively at first because they simply don’t want to believe that the child they love is suffering. They often feel helpless and don’t know what to do to take the pain away. They know that they can’t kiss it and make it better. They may feel overwhelmed by the maze called human services. So please give your mom a break if she doesn’t immediately get it. Explain how you are feeling and ask her to help you make an appointment for an evaluation. (It may help if you do a little investigating first and find out where teens in your area can get expert help so you are prepared with a suggestion.)

What you and your mother may not understand is this: An evaluation by a mental health counselor is just that — an evaluation. A mental health professional will hear your whole story and will be able to help you understand if you need counseling or if you need to make some life style choices (diet, sleep, exercise, time on screens, etc.) — or both — to feel better. He or she will make some recommendations. You and your mother can think about them and then decide what to do.

Please don’t wait any longer to talk to your mother about this. You say your feelings are already getting worse. Get help so you don’t have to suffer needlessly.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

I Need Help and I Don’t Know How to Ask for It

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). I Need Help and I Don’t Know How to Ask for It. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 23, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.