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How can I tell my parents that I think I'm depressed?

308 Answers
Last Updated: 12/03/2021 at 1:00am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Stacy Overton, PhD.


I am an enthusiastic life-long learner and also a professor of counseling. I have a passion for peoples stories and helping to guide and empower the human spirit.

Top Rated Answers
June 29th, 2016 9:31pm
Ah, parents. Aren't they sometimes both wonderful and ignorant to mental health? In my case, talking with my parents and backing up my admissions with lots of resources helped them discover that mental health can present as something they don't understand. Depression has physical elements just as a common cold or serious physical illness might. When you choose to ask your parents to support you with depression, please have some online or doctors information to help them understand and respect your illness.
June 24th, 2016 2:57pm
Find a time when you can approach your mom or dad in a calm way. You might want to open the conversation by asking, "Can I talk to you? I think I might be depressed." Or you could say, "I've been feeling depressed and bad about things. I've been thinking I might need to talk to someone." If you can't bring yourself to start a conversation in person, you could write your parent a note saying you need to talk.
June 30th, 2016 4:09am
Try just telling them that you don't feel good and that you need to see a therapist. They're your parents and they should understand.
March 5th, 2017 9:42am
Telling them is never easy but sometimes not saying it out loud can help, so things like writing a note! A detailed note telling them how you are feeling and what you want to acheive by telling them that
June 15th, 2016 3:21am
Sit them down and tell them what you're thinking, tell them the symptoms you think you have and why you think you're depressed. They want to know, they want to be able to help you.
March 30th, 2018 1:38pm
Telling your parents that you are depressed can be really difficult . You may get a negative or a positive response . Sometimes parents understand , and will talk to you about the situation and help you find a way to fix the problem . But sometimes , they might not understand , not believe you or think that you are exaggerating your emotions . But if you believe you are depressed , your emotions are valid and your need for help is valid . Regardless of the possible outcome , you should seek help from a trusting adult when you feel that you need it . Recognizing the problem is 75% of the job done ! Fixing it , is the next 25% . When I told my parents I was depressed and having suicidal tendencies , they thought that I was exaggerating my feelings and that I was just going through a 'phase' . My extended family thought I was nuts because I was asking for therapy . But after being persistent , they finally accepted to take me for therapy . Attending therapy really helped me personally . I no longer face depression or suicidal tendencies !
June 16th, 2016 8:46am
Tell them how you are feeling, the "symptoms" you may be feeling, why you think are you depressed and also what you may want to do about it.
June 17th, 2016 5:50am
It may be a good idea to ask them for some one on one time together. That way, they will understand it is something incredibly serious. Always remember, they will support you no matter what, so feel free to spill all your feelings out. They will always be there for you, and they will always listen to what you need to say.
June 17th, 2016 8:14pm
Keep in mind that your parents love you, very much. Any reaction they have is probably based in love and that they don't want to see or hear that their child is suffering. I might sit them down and tell them that I've been struggling with depressive feelings for a while, and while I waited to see if they changed, they haven't. I would mention that you want to get better, and that you want to make it through this and they are very important to that process. Good luck!
March 18th, 2017 1:09am
You can talk first about depression in general. Like talking about what depression is and how depressed one feels depends on how you feel, and gradually telling them you think you're depressed and this though is a strong one which you're not faking because you really know how sensitive this subject can be. It really helps when your parents feel that you're aware of what you're saying.
June 12th, 2019 5:40pm
Asking for help can be very difficult, and especially asking for it from those we love. When you have a hard time and are struggling, it may feel simpler to close off from others. However, getting the help and support we need, is very important and should be a priority. A good step, would be first to chose a time that is optimal for the discussion, so that there are no distractions for your parents and they can focus on what you have to tell them. From there, you can open up to them about the struggles you have been facing and how this has made you feel. You can ask to discuss options of what to do about it, such as talking to your doctor about it, going to see a therapist, etc from there, and making sure you get the support and care that you need to take care of your mental health. I hope this helped, and I wish you the best of luck and strength for this! 💛
June 16th, 2016 2:42am
You are not alone in this. Tell your family you need to speak with them privately. When you have the chance to do so, be open and honest with them. Let them know you're struggling and need their support. Ask them for guidance and to seek professional help. You can do this. Good luck.
June 17th, 2016 10:07pm
One can simply go to any one of the parent and tell them about the problems that they're facing in life and what really makes them feel depressed, Parents are there to help us out and support us and so they will make sure that we get out of the bad state as soon as possible.
June 22nd, 2016 7:55pm
It may be hard, but sometimes just being strait forward is the easiest thing to do, so try to just tell them.
June 24th, 2016 9:35pm
Sit down with them and tell them you need to seriously discuss something with them, tell them you're not sure about it but you may be depressed and explain what symptoms make you think so, and then they should set you up with therapist.
June 25th, 2016 8:31am
Sharing depression with a parent is tough. They may react differently. They may think nothing is wrong and have too much pride. They may respond helpfully. An effective way to do so is not necessarily say depressed but explain how you specifically feel and the symptoms. That way, they will have an idea of how to help you.
June 25th, 2016 1:09pm
Parents usually don't like to admit that their kid might need help. They have more difficulty in acceptance than the kid themselves. The child can calmly explain to their parents what he/she has been feeling lately and let them understand the meaning of it themselves.
April 11th, 2018 7:29pm
Admitting to feel depressed is already a great step to then move on and ask for help, so if you are wondering how to talk to your parents about your concerns of being depressed, I believe that this means you are already on the right path and want to be helped. As it is not easy at all to suffer with depression, it is also not easy for those around us, especially if they don't know what is going on with us. People with depression might feel embarrassed or intimidated to open up about how they feel, but it is crucial that they do so to receive help. On the other hand, it is also very difficult to deal with someone suffering with depression. Often, also the people around us feel intimidated when they hear the word 'depression' and don't know how they can help, what are the right things to say, what to avoid saying. Carers too need help to know how to handle a beloved suffering with depression, but sadly, it can happen that the challenge is too much and their sense of helplessness leads them to move away from the depressed person making things even worse. If you are blessed to have loving parents, who better than them would immediately help you unconditionally, who better than them would never leave you and would support you all the way through this journey? Do not be afraid and talk to them about it. They will be there for you always and whatever happens, they will not abandon you. They will help you finding the best possible care and will collect you when you feel that you are falling apart. You will always have a safe place with them, you will always find a part of arms ready to hold you tight when you feel dreadfully scared and lonely. They will understand you in your silence, they will read the look in your eyes. Parents are our light, that light at the end of the tunnel which gave us life once and can bring us back to life as many times as we need it. Parents are the most precious thing to a child as the child is the most precious thing for parents. They will see in your fragility at this time, a huge strength for having come forward and having exposed your weakness to them. They will incredibly appreciate your honesty to them and be thankful for it. Love between parents and their children is unconditional: remember, they are there for you for good and bad times. Always. Even when you think they wouldn’t understand you. Even if you feel them not close to you, they are. Good luck.
November 14th, 2018 5:33am
Opening up to your family can be SO scary because you are making yourself vulnerable and sharing something very personal to yourself. I think the most important thing is to be honest with them as they will be able to see how what you're telling them is something important and therefore they will understand and want to support you to get you the help you need. Taking that step to telling your parents is a massive step but definitely a daunting one and shouldn't be diminished. It is something that will take time. Don't rush into it if you don't feel ready but make sure you reach out to someone who you do feel comfortable to talk to to ensure you're getting the support you need.
May 22nd, 2020 1:30pm
Talking about depression to an adult can be scary. You might feel uncomfortable talking about issues like self-harm, suicidal ideation because you're afraid of making your parents worried or upset. But they'll be glad that you told them and reached out for help and can even help you receive the attention and support you need. You might want to open the conversation by asking, "Can I talk to you? I've been feeling really upset and unhappy lately and it's been getting out of hand. I've been thinking I might need to talk to someone about it. I think I might be depressed." Your parents will love you just the same. Every parent is different, some may have a hard time wrapping their head around depression. Try helping them feel like it isn't their fault. It's great that you're trying to get help, I'm proud of you. Here is a helpful link to look at if you want to process things at your own speed:
June 21st, 2016 6:41am
Ask them to sit down with you and tell them you have a problem or tell them how you feel. If you tell them how you feel, they might get the message instead of you telling them you're depressed.
June 21st, 2016 1:28pm
Be willing to openly share an experience with you parents to allow them to get a sense of how you may feel.
June 23rd, 2016 3:08pm
You can talk to the parent you are more close to. And try to be calm and not be too rushed. It is worth a try
June 24th, 2016 11:32pm
just talk to them and tell them that you might have an issue, they will understand it. you have nothing to be worrying about
June 26th, 2016 3:44am
Tell them that you are depressed, if they react in an unsettling and resistant way, I would consult with other family members or write a letter to them talking about what you are going through.
June 29th, 2016 10:58am
Parents are the people who have given us our lives, There isn't any thing which our parents won't understand. Parents are the only people who know what is good for us and what not. They know our good more than our self. Depression is not a separate thing. The talk about depression would be taken as any other chat by our parents. So stay calm and stay strong. Just go for it. Parents will understand it for sure. Thank You... May the joy be with you :-) !!!
June 29th, 2016 8:56pm
The best way to tell your parents of your depression, is to start telling them what really leaded you there. You could tell them what is making you feel depressed. Also. parents are always here for their child, so you don't need to be afraid or feel awkward for saying them something like that. Sometimes, parents are those who can really help you, don't forget that they gave birth to you. If there's one thing you should do to tell them about your depression, is that you must be real. You shouldn't be afraid of their reaction, you should be honest with them, open your heart to them. Well, I must say that this depends on the character of your parents. But, in my opinion, there's no parent who doesn't care about their child's health.
July 2nd, 2016 3:05pm
Try and explain to your parents that you are starting to feel depressed and you don't know why and ask if they can take you to speak to someone who might be able to help you
July 6th, 2016 8:03am
Telling your parents you are depressed isn't always easy. The best way to address this is to calmly, and in a safe/quiet environment, sit both of them down. Let them know that you think you may be depressed and let them know some of your feeling/symptoms that lead you to think you are depressed. Should your parents ask you questions try to be as open and honest with them as possible. Let them know your concerns. Hopefully, moving forward, your parents and yourself will be able to come to a conclusion and take steps to diagnose/treat your possible depression.
July 6th, 2016 1:13pm
This is a hard thing to approach your parents about. But also may be the most beneficial when you have your parents able to support you. You can try to start off by telling them how things have changed and that you find yourself feeling hopeless and are unable to control it. When you let them know how overwhelming and scary it can be to go through alone, your parents may try harder to find a way to help you anyway that they can. Parents typically hate to see their children struggle especially with something that can be tricky to fight like depression. But finding people you trust and can open up to can be the best way to find a better support system and to be able to find the help you need.