How to ask for help with depression: Planning the conversation

Depression symptoms can be serious, and reaching out to a trusted adult like your parents can be crucial to your recovery. However, it can be difficult to talk to your parents about your struggles with depression. Whether it be because of fear of judgment or fear of opening up, it can be difficult to even get the words out. Thankfully, there are several strategies you can use to plan this important conversation between yourself and your parents.

While you can’t control how others react to different situations, you can control how you express and relate your feelings. A professional therapist can help you develop a plan in which you tell your parents about your struggles with depression and how they can support you throughout your treatment.

How you can ask for help with depression

It’s important for you to know that seeking help is a sign of strength, and that it’s the first step toward recovery. Parents in particular can play a critical role in helping their children navigate their struggles with depression and pave the way for a brighter future.

Here are a few tips to help you build the confidence you need to talk to your parents about your depression and ask for help managing your symptoms:

  • Research and educate yourself — You can research the symptoms of depression, its causes, and its treatments, in order to educate yourself about it and be prepared to provide some examples of the symptoms you have been experiencing.
  • Write it down — Write down what you want to say to your parents. It can help you organize your thoughts, and it will give you something to refer to during the conversation. Sometimes, writing your conversation in the form of a letter can help you express yourself freely and in a judgment-free way. Be sure to use “I” statements to express how you feel, rather than blaming others. For example, “I feel really sad and hopeless” instead of “You don’t understand me.”
  • Plan to maintain an even tone of voice — Speak in a calm and assertive tone, rather than yelling or crying. However, if you cry, that is completely natural and understandable. Just make sure that your voice conveys that you are being honest and direct about how you’re feeling.
  • Choose the right time — Choose a time when your parents are likely to be most receptive to your conversation and when they can give you their full attention.
  • Seek support — If you’re feeling overwhelmed, seek support from a therapist, counselor, teacher or other trusted adult before approaching your parents.
  • Remind yourself of the benefits of seeking help — As the time for your conversation with your parents approaches, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed to the point where you convince yourself not to ask for their help. However, it’s important that you remind yourself that seeking help is a sign of strength, and that asking your parents for help can help you get better faster. 

Depression is a treatable illness, and with the right help and support, you can improve your mental health and overall well-being. Your parents want the best for you, and they will be there to support you.

How can your parents help you with your depression?

Before your conversation with your parents, you may question whether they would be able to help you with your symptoms at all. There are several ways that parents can help their teenagers with depression, including by:

  • Listening and being supportive — Your parents can be a sounding board for your concerns, listening to you as you talk about your feelings and letting you know that they are there to support you. Recovery from depression can take time, and setbacks can happen. Parents can be patient throughout your treatment and remind you that progress is not always linear.
  • Educating themselves — After listening to your symptoms, parents can educate themselves on depression and its symptoms as a whole so that they can better understand what you are going through. With this knowledge, they can become a more effective and cognizant support system at home.
  • Helping you seek professional help — Your parents can help you find a therapist or counselor who can provide an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan unique to your symptoms. Therapists can use techniques like process-based therapy (PBT) to address your core challenges and guide you toward making positive changes. 
  • Creating a safe and supportive environment at home — After learning about your depression, your parents can work to ensure that you feel safe and secure at home, in addition to encouraging open communication. They can also help you establish healthy habits such as regular exercise, a nutritious diet and a regular sleep schedule.
  • Helping you set goals — Your parents can help you set and reach your goals for therapy, even working with your therapist to ensure that practical steps are being put in place. Parents can also help you recognize and celebrate your progress, which you may otherwise overlook.

Lightfully can help you ask your parents for help with your depression

Talking to your parents about your depression symptoms can be a difficult and daunting task. However, it is important to remember that your parents are a valuable resource that can provide much-needed support and guidance. By being honest and open, setting boundaries, finding the right time to talk, and seeking professional help, you can effectively communicate your struggles with depression to your parents.

Professional therapists can help you develop a plan to speak to your parents. At Lightfully, you can choose to meet with a therapist online, where you can express your concerns about your depression and your fears about how your parents will react. From there, your therapist can help you build a plan that is unique to your family, situation and symptoms.

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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