If you are a teenager struggling with your mental health, you might hesitate to share your concerns with your parents. You don’t want them to overreact, and you might be afraid that they will get upset or scared from your disclosure.
Reaching out for help can be one of the best decisions you’ll take for your well-being. Here are some practical tips about starting the conversation with your parents.
Validate Yourself for Recognizing Your Situation
Identifying that you are struggling takes courage and honesty. Often, it feels easier to deny the issue and pretend like everything is all right. Be proud of yourself for having the willingness to admit that something is going on—this awareness is the first step towards change.
Choose a Neutral Time
Consider planning the timing of this conversation. Aim to do it when you’re not in a rush (like just before school) or when your parents might be stressed or tired (like just after coming home from a long day at work). That said, don’t overthink it too much—perfect timing doesn’t exist.
Talk While Doing an Activity Together
Sharing your feelings face-to-face may feel awkward and shameful. If you’re concerned about feeling uncomfortable, consider having the conversation while engaged in another task, like driving, walking the dog, or eating dinner.
Provide Specific Information
Aim to be objective in sharing your struggles. You can borrow from the “who, what, where, when, why” template to describe the situation. For example, I’ve been feeling anxious. I notice it the most when I’m at school. I’m scared of ___ bullying me again.
Have Information Ready
You can research treatment options ahead of time. At Idaho Youth Ranch, we help teenagers struggling with their mental health. You can schedule a consultation with us today.