I’ve been professionally diagnosed with depression and briefly received counseling, though my grandmother cancelled my treatment and refuses to continue it. My father cannot convince her to change her mind and my mother is out of the picture. My father supports me, though won’t take any action of his own because he doesn’t believe depression is real. My grandmother refuses to attempt an understanding of depression, and I have nowhere to turn. I’ve asked many times over the course of over entire year for her to allow me help again ever since she has cancelled my counseling, but all my efforts have proven pointless. My condition is worsening and I’m experiencing passive suicidal thoughts, and though I’ve told my family about this, they have purposely done nothing to help me or to get me help. My grandma forces me to literally pretend I’m not depressed, and my father won’t acknowledge me when I mention my depression. Essentially, my family is denying me help and I have nowhere to turn. I haven’t slept for more than a few hours every night night in maybe weeks, I have sleep paralysis and terrifying nightmares relating to my depression, and I battle the urge to self-harm every time I’m alone and whenever my thoughts begin to take over. I’m scared that I’ll soon turn to suicide, and I have nowhere and no one to turn to for help. Please tell me what I should do.
A. There are several things that you can do. The likely best option is to contact the school guidance counselor, psychologist, social worker or another trusted faculty member and tell them what’s wrong. They will likely be concerned about your worsening symptoms, especially your suicidal ideation and the fact that your family isn’t helping. Once school officials become aware of these problems, they are mandated by law to act.
Other options include asking trusted adult family members for their assistance. What about the mental health professional who diagnosed your depression? You might try contacting them and asking for their guidance. They might then contact your caregivers about seeking help for you.
Another option, is to contact child protective services. Being actively denied mental health treatment, despite there being something evidently wrong, could be considered child abuse. If child protective services were to become involved, their goal would not be getting anyone in trouble. Instead, their goal would be ensuring that you receive the proper treatment. To find the phone number for child protective services in your state, Google the keywords “child protective services” and your ZIP Code.
If you feel that you cannot keep yourself safe, call 911. Emergency services will respond and keep you safe. They would likely take you to the emergency room, where you would undergo a psychiatric evaluation and receive the necessary care.
In the meantime, you should know about the following resources and use them if you need to:
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Text Line: text HOME to 741741 in the United States
You might also try journaling. Journaling is not a treatment for depression. It can however, be a clarifying exercise. Psychotherapy is the best treatment for depression while journaling can help to relieve painful emotions.
One final word: please realize that suicide should not be seen as an option. Eradicate it from your thinking. Many people consider suicide because they want to end their pain and don’t know what else to do. There are many, many evidence-based treatments that exist and can make your life better. I know this is true. I have seen it help many people. I hope that the above ideas are helpful. Stay safe and please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle