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Failing School Due to Mental Health

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I’ve been struggling with my mental health since I was in elementary school and it’s always been affecting my grades, but my senior year has been really terrible. My depression was at an all-time high, and I am suffering from anorexia nervosa, severe unmedicated ADHD, and anxiety. In November I had to leave school to go to a mental health unit for about a week. I thought things would get better, but in December, I was sexually assaulted, which destroyed any bit of recovery that I had started. I decided to make the switch to virtual school since I had no motivation to go to school and was failing all of my classes (even my favorite ones). But now that I’m in a virtual school, I’m still struggling. I’ve already been kicked out of one class and had to sign up for it again. I’m about to be kicked out of my only other two classes due to truancy, but I feel no motivation to do any of the work or even sign on to my computer. My parents are refusing to let me speak to a therapist and keep getting mad at me for costing them money for my hospital stay. All of my friends from a public school have abandoned me and I only ever leave my house to exercise or go to work. At this point, I might have to just drop out of school and say goodbye to all of my dreams. I don’t want to, but I literally have no motivation to do anything anymore. I just don’t know what to do. Everything is going wrong. (From the USA)

Failing School Due to Mental Health

Answered by on -


The fact that you have parents that are so dismissive of your mental health needs, blame you for being hospitalized, and won’t try ways to find help for you is more of a problem than anything else. While I am sorry you are having these difficulties at school, the lack of attention to your well-being at home, the unmedicated ADHD due to them not taking you for treatment, and them blaming you is the source of you not feeling good enough about yourself. Having parents that are not caring for your mental health needs is at the very core of the problem and what needs to change.

You’ve listed your age as 17, which means that you are not far away from adulthood. It may be time for you to take control of your life and stop relying on them to help, since, by not doing what they should have done, they are doing more harm than good.

There are a variety of symptoms with ADHD that can make much of what you are dealing with more difficult. Here are symptoms of ADHD taken from this terrific article by Psych Central’s own Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. When an individual with ADHD is becoming a young adult the main issue often is impulsivity and lack of focus as elaborated on in this blog.

I would call your school counselor, who should still be obligated to talk to you. Explain to him or her that you believe that ADHD may be creating many of the problems and you’d like some help in getting tested by the school. Ask them to help negotiate this with your parents. The unmedicated ADHD may be a major source of the difficulties and having a professional evaluate you for the medicine needed to manage the depression and ADHD would be an important first step. There are also psychological and educational tests that can help you learn how to learn.

As difficult as it is the time is now for you to take responsibility for getting your own help. Since you are in school there can be some assistance from the counselors. Depression, anxiety, and ADHD are not an unusual combination for teenagers and there is real help out there. Find the people who can get you the help you need and may even be able to help get your parents to realize what they can do to help make things better.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Failing School Due to Mental Health

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2020). Failing School Due to Mental Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 7 Apr 2020 (Originally: 8 Apr 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 7 Apr 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.