For most teenagers and young adults, the cycle goes like this: after you discover that you have all of the signs of depression, you start wondering how to tell your parents you have depression.
If this is your current situation, you are not alone. You also need to tell your parents so that they can get you some professional help.
Below are a few notes and ideas for how to tell your parents you have depression.
What to bear in mind before telling your parents directly
01Your parents’ understanding of depression
This talk can go in many different ways, and it might surprise you in which way your talk goes.
Depending on your parents’ understanding of depression, they may not understand or accept your situation; they might have already noticed something different about you.
The former tends to come with accusations of entitlement or softness. You need to be prepared for either type of reaction.
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02Your parents’ nature
Talks of this nature are never easy to have. Again, depending on your parents’ nature, they might get very emotional and even cry; the other possibility is that they get very angry or something in between sadness and anger.
You might cry too. Sometimes, parents may fail to say anything in response; if this happens, it usually means that your parents need some time to think.
03Your parents might ask for evidence
Even when it seems true, your parents might need extra convincing to get on board with the idea that your depression exists.
They might ask for evidence, so anything like knowledge of signs and symptoms of depression could work. Even a written note from a school doctor can come in handy in a moment like this.
If your parents tend to be skeptical about things like depression, then you can expect this to happen.
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04You might need to convince each parent individually
If you have a parent to whom you are very close, you should consider speaking to him/her first, before announcing your depression to both parents at once.
This parent can try to convince the other parent to come to the table in a less distressed state. You can try convincing the first parent of your depression using some information or evidence.
05You’ll need to practice your speech, or you could use a letter
As with any other unusual announcement, it doesn’t help when you stutter or lose your message in hundreds of uncoordinated sentences. You should rehearse a speech even if you don’t use all or any of it.
You should make sure that it covers everything you want and need to say to your parents. Most importantly, you should not point fingers at anyone.
Also, you should be ready to answer any questions that they might ask following your speech; there will very likely be some questions.
Alternatively, and as a last resort, you can write your parents a letter if you feel that you can’t face them.
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What should you do if they do not believe you?
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If your parents say that they do not believe you, you can try following these steps to get them on your side:
01Remain respectful and redirect them to a resource on depression, such as a medical website or YouTube video or using a trusted book. You should not insult them in any way.
02Talk to another adult in the family that can talk to your parents on your behalf.
03Seek an expert’s opinion to back up your argument, such as a guidance counselor from school.
04Go ahead and get medical help without their support. You can start by visiting your school counselor, your local clinic, or a local depression/suicide hotline. You should not avoid treatment because your parents don’t believe that you are depressed.
How to tell your parents you have depression: When they are likely to believe you
01“Guys, I have a problem, and I need your help. I was wondering if you’ve noticed or not, but I recently started shutting down and staying in my room more often. I also started turning down invites to events and social gatherings.
I thought that it would be a temporary feeling, but it has worsened. Now I know that I am depressed, and it’s not going to get better without help.
I feel so unhappy and low all of the time. Sometimes, I wish I were dead. I need treatment, please.”
This is an effective way to reveal your condition because it reveals the problem and shows that you did some preparation.
It also highlights your current unhappiness, which should seal the deal for your parents to get you help.
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02“Mom and Dad, this is really difficult for me to talk about, but I am suffering from depression.
I am telling you because I hope that you won’t be angry with me and because I can’t suffer alone anymore.
I didn’t think it was serious, but it’s just getting worse every day; I feel so ashamed to be feeling like this.
On the Internet, they say that you should tell someone before it’s too late, so I am telling you now. Please, I need to get some help.”
This method works because it shows that you know what you are talking about, and it shows that you’ve done some research.
It also implores your parents to help you, and it does this more than once; they can’t miss the message.
03“Mom, I am depressed. It started with a huge feeling of laziness that wouldn’t go away, then I started to want to stay in bed all of the time. I didn’t want to get out of bed.
Now, I worry that I am going to hurt myself because I constantly feel so low; I feel like I don’t want to live, sometimes.
It’s not your fault, by the way; it’s just me. Maybe, it’s my crazy body chemistry. The thing is, if it doesn’t bother you, I would like you to take me to see a doctor.
I need your help in finding a good one. Please, I want you to believe me and get me some professional help.”
This method is effective because it highlights many strong points. Not to mention, it is straightforward, shows that you know what depression really is, and allows you to tell them that you have the signs of depression.
Most importantly, you say that it’s not their fault.
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How to tell your parents you have depression: When you think they won’t believe you
04“Mom and Dad, I am suffering from depression. It’s not just a one-time low feeling; it’s been a constant feeling for a while now, and I am feeling less and less well every day.
Depression is real, and it kills a lot of people in this county every year. It gets worse when no therapy is administered to the person who is suffering from depression.
At first, it was many things that felt difficult for me, but now I I get suicidal thoughts from time to time. I feel so unhappy all of the time, and I know it’s not normal to feel like this. I need your help.”
Since it is straightforward about your feelings while emphasizing that depression has killed people, this method can be quite effective for non-believers.
It also mentions suicidal thoughts which can trigger others to take the message seriously.
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05“Dad, I hope that you don’t take this in the wrong way, but I have to tell you something important.
My depression is eating at me. It’s this mental condition that affects my brain, and it makes a person feel unhappy. It can also make the person feel weak and fragile all of the time.
I’ve lost interest in everything, and I feel really unwell. At school, the doctor says that I have all of the signs of depression, and it can kill someone who does not receive treatment for it.
I am going to see the doctor for the first treatment tomorrow, and I may need you to be around for it.”
This method works well because it makes you sound humble while still determined about getting treatment, regardless of whether he believes you or not.
It also makes you sound knowledgeable about depression, which is a good sign to people who are skeptical about the condition.
06“Dad and mom, I need to tell you something. You’ve probably been wondering why my moods have been so up and down lately, why I dislike doing my usual chores, and all of that. The truth is that I am suffering from depression, and I think that I’ve had it for a while.
It has made me feel weak and lose interest in everything around me. I know that you might not believe me, but it’s a real illness; it kills when untreated.
I am only telling you now because I wasn’t sure of what was going on. However, now I am sure of my condition. I’m asking for your help, please.”
This method rings of honesty, and parents love that. You sound so informed about the symptoms of depression, and this is a helpful addition to any conversation about the condition.
This method doesn’t ask your parents for anything, so you can gauge their reaction before asking for their involvement or assistance.
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How to tell your parents you have depression: When they are super-sensitive, and you don’t want to hurt or anger them
07“Mom and Dad, I have a big problem that I need your help with. I am suffering from depression.
It’s been a few months now, and I have been pretending to be ok. I’ve been trying to hide it from you, but it’s killing me so much that I can’t do it alone anymore.
It’s just getting worse. I am sorry; I know this is the last thing you want to hear, but it’s the truth. I need your help.”
This method works because it also considers your parent’s sensitivity, but it doesn’t lose your message of asking for help. You also get to sound vulnerable enough to deserve the help of your parents.
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08“Mom, I have something really important to talk to you about, and it can’t wait. This is not your fault in any way, but I am depressed; I have been for a while. I don’t feel happy anymore, and I feel like it’s getting worse every day.
Some days, I feel like I want to try cutting myself. I didn’t want you to know about this because you were having a tough time too. That being said, I’m telling you because I really need your help.”
This method will be effective because it covers your need for help and your understanding of your parent’s current emotional state.
It doesn’t leave out any of the important details of your condition. It’s also brutal while able to capture their attention, which comes from the part about cutting yourself.
Depression is not a joke, and it can happen to anyone. If you are currently suffering from this curable condition, you need to inform your parents right away.
However, you need to know how to tell your parents you have depression in the right way. You can use some of the ideas above for your big speech. Good luck.