Preparing to Talk to Parents
It may seem hard to share personal feelings with parents, especially if you haven’t done it in a while. It also can be hard to share when you’re not really sure what’s going on yourself. Sometimes parents can offer a new angle that helps you figure things out, how to talk to your parents about depression. Just talking about it might help you see things more clearly for yourself.
Some people worry about how a parent might react. Will mom be mad? Will dad be disappointed? It’s natural to worry, but most parents are supportive and understanding when they realize what’s going on.
If you’re like most people, you probably wish your parent would start the conversation. Sometimes a parent will ask what’s wrong. Much of the time, though, it’s up to you.
Starting the Conversation
Find a time when you can approach your mom or dad in a calm way. You might want to open the conversation by asking, “Can I talk to you? I’ve been feeling depressed and bad about things. I’ve been thinking I might need to talk to someone.”
If it’s too hard to start a conversation in person, you could write your parent a note saying you need to talk.
Sometimes the conversation just gets started by itself. For example, if you’re crying or overwhelmed, you might just blurt out your feelings. Talk to your parents about depression This could be the perfect beginning to the conversation you need to have.
Figuring Out What to Say and How to Say It
1. Recognize the symptoms of depression.
Before you tell your parents about your depression, you may want to make sure it fits what you’re going through. Do some research to learn more about depression from credible sources like the National Institute on Mental Health.
Depression in adolescents and teens can manifest in different ways. You might feel indecisive, fatigued, angry, or overly sad. You might also be struggling in school – disengaged with little motivation, trouble concentrating, and remembering things.
Recently, you may have pulled away from your friends and family and chosen to spend more time alone. You may have trouble sleeping or sleep too much. You might also try to numb your feelings with drugs and alcohol, or engage in other risky activities.
Even if you aren’t so sure what you’re experiencing is depression, it’s best to speak up about your symptoms so you can get help.
2. Realize that this will be a difficult conversation.
Telling your parents about depression can make you very emotional. You may cry, or your parents may cry. This is perfectly okay. Depression is a difficult subject, and you are doing the right thing by addressing it now before it gets worse.
Chances are, your parent(s) have already noticed something is wrong. They just don’t know what it is or how to help. By naming the problem, you will help them feel better and know how to take action.
3. Ask someone you trust for guidance.
You may worry about your parent’s reaction to your mental illness. If so, you might choose to ask a school guidance counselor, a teacher, or a coach for their advice. This can help you warm up to the idea of talking about your depression.
You might say, “Ms. Anderson, I think I might be depressed. I don’t know how to tell my parents.”
This trusted person might call your parents in for a meeting so that you can break the news in a safe and comfortable environment.
Consider whether you want to talk to one parent first or both parents at the same time. Chances are you may be closer to one parent, think that one parent may react better, or how to talk to your parents about depression even feel like one parent is part of the problem.
If that’s the case, talk to the parent you feel most comfortable with first. That parent can help you tell the other parent.
5. Write a letter if you have a hard time finding words.
Sometimes, communicating your feelings is really difficult. You may feel better about sharing the news with your parents in an indirect way like writing a note or sending a text message.
Be sure you convey a serious tone, so your parents know that this is a real issue. Describe some of your symptoms, explain how they have been affecting your life, and ask to see a doctor.