How to talk to your parents 2017-08-22T16:39:37+00:00

How do I talk to my parents if I think I might need mental health help?

Talking to your parents about mental health issues can be scary and really hard.  A lot of young people are afraid to talk to their parents about the subject or just don’t know how to bring it up.  Speaking up and asking for help takes a lot of courage, but you can do it!

Most likely, your parent will be much more sympathetic and understanding than you expect.  They love you and want what is best for you.   Remember, hearing that you may have an illness, may be scary for them as well.  No parent wants their child to have an illness, whether it be heart disease, cancer, diabetes or mental illness.   Parents want their children to be healthy and when they potentially are facing an illness it can be distressing.   The distress a parent experiences at the news of a possible health issue is based on their love and care for you.

Recovery is something that you have to work on every single day and it’s something that doesn’t get a day off.

-Demi Lavato

Start off by telling your parent or parents that you have something important to talk with them about and make sure that you are able to have their undivided attention.  Pick a time when they are the least likely to be distracted and can listen to what you have to say.  Be very honest and forthcoming with what you are experiencing.   (Before you talk to them, you may want to make a list of what symptoms you are having or things that are bothering you so that during the discussion when you may be feeling anxious you don’t forget to bring up important things).  Talk to them about how having these symptoms makes you feel, and if they are very distressing to you, let them know.  Give them specific examples of how your symptoms are impacting you (i.e. “I feel so down and sad most days that it makes me not want to get out of bed to face the day”, or “I often feel so anxious that I feel sick to my stomach and get lightheaded).  Give them as many examples as you can and tell them how often and how long you have been experiencing the symptoms.

Don’t be surprised if your parent’s initial reaction is denial (remember it is scary for parents too).  They may think that what you are experiencing is typical for youth your age, which is why it is really important to be clear and honest about what symptoms you are having.  Showing them symptoms that are listed on our site or other mental health sites may also be helpful.    Sometimes parents just need a little time to digest the information that you have given them.   You might even have to have the conversation more than once.  The key is to not give up.

The goal in talking to your parents is to get you help.  You are taking a big step in taking care of yourself by talking with your parents.  It is scary but it is a big step on the road to feeling better.