Written & Reviewed by
Gaston Molina
Published on
November 7, 2021

Now more than ever, teenagers and adolescents are struggling with anxiety, depression, compulsive thoughts, and other mental health concerns. These issues can be exhausting, terrifying, and relentless, making it feel impossible or painful to do normal teenage things like hang out with friends, go to school, or make plans.

If you’re a teenager struggling with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health concern, you are not alone. Struggling with your mental health can be isolating, especially when you are unsure how your parents will react to you bringing it up. Fitcy Health offers affordable, online therapy for all kinds of mental health concerns. If you’re under 18, we will need parental consent. While a conversation about starting online counseling can be daunting, it could also be the start to something great.

How to Have a Conversation About Mental Health With Your Parents:

1. Keep it factual and observable.

Unless your parents have struggled with their mental health themselves, they might not understand the emotional and physical impacts anxiety, depression, ADHD, trauma, or the like are having on you. To start a conversation with your parents, talk about the external results of your struggles. You might open up about how hard it is to focus in school, resulting in your lower grades. Or you can mention changes in your sleeping, eating, or social behavior. These are observable, undeniable, and easier for parents to understand.

2. Use “I statements”.

This is a classic communication trick. Start your sentences with phrases such as “I’ve been experiencing…”, “I’m having trouble…”, or “I could use some help with…” This will help your parents understand that this is not an argument- it is a conversation. And you are not blaming them, you’re asking for their help.

3. Provide solutions.

Even when your parents understand mental health, they might be at a complete loss as to how to help you. They might prescribe more sleep, better nutrition, or more structure, and assume that will solve all the problems. As well intentioned as these efforts might be, we know they are only part of the solution. Mental health problems require a mental health solution. So give your parents some ideas that you think will honestly help you. You might bring up online therapy or in-person support groups. Do some research to see what’s available in your area. And of course, Fitcy Health is always here online. In general, your conversation has the best chances of going well if structured like this:“I’ve been experiencing [observable symptoms], and after doing some research I believe it is [anxiety, depression, mental illness]. I think I could benefit from [solutions- online therapy, support groups, etc.]”If your parents are worried about the price, have them check out Fitcy Health’s affordable plans here. And if it doesn’t go well, don’t give up. Keep trying, and in the mean time, take care of yourself. There are other ways to find support outside of your parents or a licensed professional.

What If My Parents Don’t Believe Me?

Being shut down after an honest conversation about mental health with your parents is unspeakably hard. It can leave you feeling hopeless, isolated, and trapped. But please remember- there is always hope. Even this hard time will pass, and there are ways to make it more bearable.Ways you can manage a mental illness include:

• Talk to your friends- most likely, there is someone else who understands. Talking to someone, even if it is just a friend, has huge benefits.
• Make plans- When you’re depressed or anxious, things like exercising and hanging out with people can sound impossible. Start with small things, like going for a walk or having one good friend over to watch TV.
• Join free online support groups. There are local and international sites organized to help those who can’t reach professional counseling but are still looking for a community to support them. Sites such as 7 Cups of Tea, The Tribe, or Daily Strength are good replacements until you can start professional therapy.

For the parents: How to Support Your Teenager Struggling With Their Mental Health:

1. Believe them.

The Global Burden of Disease study created by Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that 1 in 10 people world-wide struggle with a clinical mental illness. The word “clinical” means it meets researched dialogistic criteria and greatly impairs ones’ ability to carry out daily functions. This includes 264 million people living with depression and 284 million living with anxiety.

Depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and other mental illnesses are more than just feeling sad or overwhelmed. They are a real problem that can impact your child’s life for years to come. The best course of action is to believe them when they say they are struggling, and find professional help.

2. Get professional help.

You can support and love your child with everything you have, but you alone can’t cure them of a cold, a toothache, or a broken bone. There are doctors specifically for each of those ailments, and there are doctors for mental health too. While parental support can be a huge part of a child’s healing and recovery, it is only part of the solution. Contacting a psychiatrist or therapist is the best way to ensure your son or daughter has a healthy, fulfilling life ahead of them.

3. Support them at home.

As minors, many teenagers struggle to get access to the resources they need. As parents, you can bridge that gap. Providing them with the right nutrition, access to therapists, and unconditional support is a vital step. It can be frustrating watching your son or daughter struggle with something you can’t see. Sometimes, it might feel like they’re just being dramatic. They’re not. Their mental health concern is real, and the best thing you can do for them is support them and their recovery. Ask them how you can best support them, and create a recovery plan.

Teenager Mental Illness is Hard, but There is Hope.

It’s not always easy, but thousands of teenagers enjoy recovery and freedom from mental illness every year. What you’re feeling and experiencing now isn’t going to be with you forever. Professional therapy is the fastest, most guaranteed way to deal with a mental health concern, but it’s not the only way. You are strong and resilient, and you will make it to happier days.

If you’re able to get parental consent, Fitcy Health is here for you with affordable therapy accessible from anywhere. For more information or to schedule an appointment today, click here.

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