I’m sorry that you are experiencing a difficult time. Even if you believe that your parents will not react appropriately I would still encourage you to tell them. At this point, you don’t know for certain what their reaction will be. The best way to know is to tell them.
You can try saying something like this: “This is difficult for me to say. I have been concerned about your reaction but I have something very serious to tell you. I believe that I may have depression. I have suicidal thoughts at times. These thoughts are frightening and I don’t know how to handle them. I believe that I need help. I am serious about wanting help. Can you please help me?”
If you do not feel comfortable speaking to them about these issues then consider writing a letter explaining your feelings. You should inform your parents that you wrote to us at Psych Central. You can show them your letter and my response. This might underscore the seriousness of your concerns.
Your parents may not know how to find you help. If not, I have several suggestions. One way is to speak to your pediatrician or family doctor. They can refer their patients to a local psychiatric treatment center for a thorough evaluation. You should be evaluated by a therapist. You can locate local therapists by searching various directories. I would recommend calling five to 10 therapists and speaking with them directly about your situation. You can do this independently but your parents may want to be involved. Lastly, consider speaking to the school guidance counselor. He or she may be able to help you access treatment. The guidance counselor may also be able to speak to your parents on your behalf.
TeensHealth website outlines ways parents can help you when you’re dealing with depression, even if your seeing a therapist.
“communicate with kindness — and agree to ban hurtful criticism, arguments, threats, and putdowns
remind you that they love and believe in you
comment on your positive actions and traits
help with homework or projects you’re having trouble with, or get you a tutor
see the good in you and keep expecting good things from you
hold you accountable (kindly, but seriously) for your responsibilities at home and at school
talk through problems with you
make sure you get proper exercise, nutrition, and sleep (it’s not nagging, it’s love!)
do things with you that you both enjoy — walk, play a sport or game, watch a movie, do a craft, or cook.”
“You might need to ask your mom or dad to do these things for you. You can show them this list or come up with your own ideas. You know best what feels most helpful to you.”
“Talk with your mom or dad about actions you’ll both take to help with your depression. Make a list of what you plan to do. Be sure that your plan includes how you’ll do these things:”
get the right amount of sleep and rest
eat healthy food
spend time outdoors during the day
spend time in relaxing, enjoyable activities, especially with the people you love.”
Suicidal thoughts should always be taken very seriously. Mental health professionals understand this and so should your parents. There are ways to access help for your depression but first you need to make your parents aware of how you are feeling. They cannot help you if they do not know what’s wrong. I know that telling them will not be easy but it is necessary for your mental health and wellbeing. I hope this answer motivates you to speak to your parents so you can get the help that you need and deserve. Thank you for your question. I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on June 11, 2010.