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How do I tell my parents I'm depressed?

302 Answers
Last Updated: 01/15/2022 at 5:37pm
How do I tell my parents I'm depressed?
1 Tip to Feel Better
United Kingdom
Moderated by

Lisa Meighan, BSc Psychology (Honours)


Hello, I am Lisa and I work in a person-centred approach mixed with cognitive behavioural therapy. I believe we all have the potential to be the best we can be.

Top Rated Answers
October 26th, 2018 9:26pm
I know some parents will deny that a child of theirs is depressed but I believe in general most parents would want to know and would try to help. I also believe many parents don’t know how to help the depressed individual. So, if you are apprehensive about talking to your parents start with a trusted adult and talk about it. An adult often has insight into issues and can help. If there is not a trusted adult find a time you can talk to your parents and have their undivided attention, no tv, electronic devices, etc. and talk to them. Be honest. I’m not thrilled with this last option but sometimes it’s easier to tell someone with a text. If you do this please don’t solely use this method. It’s important to talk face to face about such issues.
November 24th, 2018 6:52pm
They will want to know. They will want to help and console you. Telling anyone something like this may seem daunting and may be embarrassing but I know for sure if this is someone that loves you they will be happy you told them. They will want to help you and be there for you in any way they can. If they cant help you with what is going on they will help you find someone who is able to. Depression is a real and serious thing it's important you tell someone in your life that cares about you what is going on.
December 5th, 2018 3:19am
You talk to them and you tell them that your not doing well and that you have a lot of things on your mind. For starters talking is the most important part of this journey with your parents and take the time to show your feelings what is troubling you and make sure that they listen to everything your saying here about what you are feeling I mean this is the best approach for you when it comes to talking to your parents about depression and that is the best thing I can come up with and hope this helps you out.
January 12th, 2019 8:56am
Usually we find it easier to talk to one of our parents over the other. Maybe they are a good listener or it’s just more natural. Imagine your telling one of them how you feel. What one made the most sense to you ? Remember they are your parents and love you. If you had a child dealing with depression you would do anything to help them. So let’s say you have picked one and your ready to talk. I would start by telling them that you want advice and need their guidance. Naturally they will be concerned and ask you what’s wrong. At this point I would come straight out and say” i have worried about telling you this, but I want you to know I’ve been dealing with depression” Once you have opened the door, the rest will follow naturally. After speaking to them. They will likely inform your other parental figure in a clear way how you are feeling. Unless you don’t want the other to know. You should make it clear. I hope this helped.
January 16th, 2019 11:29am
I'm not there's a parent that doesn't recognize the state of her own child. Especially the mother. They might not start the conversation, yeah. But they know it, somehow, some way. Not all of them maybe, but that's the quality of a parent after all, they know the emotions and normal level of actions about their own children. what they choose to do afterwards, that's another discussion :D So, i don't see any problem with full honesty. it's not like you go to your boss, to announce your depression :P Now, more about depression, I feel to add to it. I see depression as a very natural state (When it's not exaggerated by us) As i see it, there are always 2 stages in life, even life itself goes the same. 1. find the goal, or a goal. 2. achieve the goal (or give it up) transition from 2, back to 1, is always interpreted as depression, but it's actually a release. You are released from the goal. and it's great, now you can choose another goal. (and "i choose zero goals" is also a goal :P) so basically we cannot choose to not have a goal, and we cannot choose to not give attention. one way or the other we will always work with and for a goal, and we will always give attention to something. what we choose though, what we can control, is the combination: goal + attention. what we choose to focus more on.
January 23rd, 2019 6:05am
Tell them how you're feeling and why you're feeling that way and that you need their help and support to get over this. Don't be shy to open up to them and give them chance to hear you out and help you, your parents love you more than anything in the world and would never judge you but you need to be honest with them about your feelings and why you re feeling this way so that they can help you and take what you say into consideration but you also need not to scare them as they will worry about you
January 23rd, 2019 10:55am
I thinking telling your parents that you are depressed is a real challenge and never easy. First, I would asked myself, what are my biggest fears of telling them and address that issue and maybe even approach a close friend that can give you another way of looking at it. The best advice I can give is truly treat it is taking off a band aid and do it quickly and honest as possible and allow them to asked question and say what come to their minds. Some time parent will take it as they fail and that they have to cope with the notion that they fail. And if anything else address outside help to deal with the conversation.
February 8th, 2019 11:06am
Sit down together, gather the courage and tell them how you feel. They're your parents, they love you and I think they will support you as much as they are capable. I don't know what kind of people your parents are but even if they react unexpectedly, I am sure at the end it will be better than keeping quiet. My sister had depression and mother found out in an unpleasant way and the thing she was most sad about is that my sister didn't tell her directly. It can be difficult indeed, but it is worth it, I believe in you
May 1st, 2019 4:34pm
if you have problems telling your parents you are depressed then you need to decide if you want to tell them how you are feeling. i agree it is difficult to tell parents because you don't wand them to worry. if you tell them the truth, they may respond in a way that makes you feel less stress. depression is so common that there is not as much stigma compared to other conditions or diseases. Parents can help if they know how you feel by getting you to a doctor and maybe medication too. if you don't feel comfortable telling your parents you may need to tell a friend and ask what you should do. living with depression can be scary if you don't know ways of managing it. education about depression is important to your health.
May 10th, 2019 9:27am
You first need to observe your parents, you know them better and you know their opinions and reactions to things especially mental health. This will guide you and help you whether to make them understand what depression is or whether you need to go straight to the point or have someone help you tell you You also need to pick the right time, tell them when they’re free, in a good mood and ready to listen Be open and extremely honest about how you feel and most importantly, let them know what triggers you so that they know what to do to make you better and also know which actions and words to avoid in order not trigger you
June 7th, 2019 9:01am
From my personal experience and i think most schools have therapists where you can go anonymously saying that if they do think your in danger they have obligation to make sure your safe. When you go there you should have a opportunity to them and explain the thoughts your having and why your feeling depressed, they should be able to guide you to a way to be able to tell your parents. Telling your parents about a mental disorder is not a bad thing its a good thing so they can understand what your going through and help you if more support is needed.
June 12th, 2019 3:48pm
You can’t start by asking them to have a serious talk with you. Tell them that you have been feeling (feelings) for a while. You can tell them that you think you are depressed and would like to seek help. If they think you are just sad just tell them more about why you think your depressed. Don’t be afraid to be 100% real with them. If they acknowledge you’re feelings then you can ask for help in whatever way you think you need. They could be in denial if they don’t believe you which is why it’s important to be 100% with them.
June 26th, 2019 5:36pm
Family is your biggest strength and it makes your healing process faster. I am sure your family has been noticing you and it will be help to them that you give them a reason. But most importantly listen to your heart if you are not ready for their reaction then don't. Take you time. Share with your siblings first. Parents can be over protective sometimes. So take your time. One idea is that you casually discuss topic of depression with them see how they reacts and slightly share your situation with them. Be ready to give some answers and listen to them.
June 30th, 2019 2:58am
I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling with your health. Have you been to see a doctor? Have you had a diagnosis? Sounds like you may be under lots of stress and pressure that your parents are not aware of. They have a righ to know what is bothering you yet they may not fully understand the impact depression has on you. However, tell them anyway and start with your emotions. Your emotions are yours and they deserve to be acknowledged. Your health comes first over how your parents shall respond with your current health issue. So go and see a doctor and get help. Ask for all the help you are entitled to from your doctor. As for therapy, ask your parents that you need their support to get therapy in order to make a full recovery. There is a lot of misunderstandings about how depression is caused and what support one needs when one has been diagnosed with it. So let me tell you that your parents may not be able to support you the way you want them to. My parents were unsupportive when I told them I was diagnosed with depression as they had no knowledge of how to support me with such diagnosis. They have been taught that it is shameful to have such health issue. They chose to ignore my condition and dismissed it which was very painful. If you really do need the support from your parents then ask them directly. Never leave this important issue unspoken as it shall have a huge impact on your recovery and healing. They may not know how to, yet when you ask them to support you, they shall do their best to support you. Get them to read up on depression (preferably from books and not from the Internet) so that they have some knowledge of the condition and how to support you. Without some sound knowledge of depression, it is rather difficult to support you as they do not know what to look out for, what struggles is up ahead for them and what to do that is constructive to your recovery. Meanwhile, I suggest that you eat a healthy balanced diet, stay away from negative and toxic people. Get fresh air each day for 30 minutes and do some sort of exercise each day. Be sure to get a sound night’s sleep each night which is vital for your recovery.
July 12th, 2019 8:58pm
I guess based on my experience you tell someone you really trust first like your a best friend your partner maybe even a close family member and ask them to sit with you and your parents while you talk everything through and if they have any questions they maybe able to help answer them and have a nice cup of tea and relax it might even bring you closer you can even talk about things that will help you recover when you go through your depressive episodes because they really do care and they just want the best for you even if that means talking about things like this that may be a little awkward at first
August 3rd, 2019 8:51pm
I'd first like to say that it is great that you're taking the first step to come and ask for help. That is extremely brave of you. Telling anyone, let alone a family member, that you're reaching out and need help with your mental state is a lovely. There is no right or wrong way to tell your parents that you're depressed. You could suggest to them that you would like to speak to a therapist or counselor nearby? Hearing a professional and certified/licensed individual can bring some light onto the matter for both yourself and your parents. Regardless when or how you tell your parents, your emotions and feelings are valid. We are all human beings and this is sadly a part of life. I wish you the best of luck during your recovery.
August 15th, 2019 3:19am
I know that you may be feeling afraid and nervous about opening up to your parents about your depression but, the sooner you open up to them then, the quicker you can get the help you need. Take the time expressing yourself and the reasons why you have been feeling this way. Be open to the questions they may have and, share as much details possible so they can better understand you and what you're going through. It may be a good idea to find a time that you can sit down and talk to both of them, preferably when they are not too busy or stressed out. Your parents only want what's best for you so, I feel that you will and can have their support. You know what's best for you and if you need help and support then going to see a medically trained therapist is probably a good idea too.
August 21st, 2019 9:45am
To tell your parents you are depressed you should ask first to have a moment alone and then open up to them. Parents are very understanding and loving so they will try to talk through your problems with you and offer things that they believe will be able to help. It is your decision to take your parents advice but they will always love you no matter what and will want the best for you so if you are depressed just talk to them alone for a moment and you will see their empathy and their understanding towards you.
September 27th, 2019 6:30pm
Just be honest. They need to know what youre going through if they have to support you emotionally. Put yourself first. Its okay no matter what their reactions are, being honest is key to your improvement of mental health and wellbeing.
October 18th, 2019 4:24pm
Heya!! My name is Eks. I want to first tell you how much I am proud of you for having this desire, It shows how strong you are. Telling your parents about this is no easy task and often it is the matter of how your parents are to be honest. There are so many ways that you can tell your parents something and some work better then others, it depends on the parents to be honest. In my family I have found that sending them a letter when they are at work is the best thing, for me. But everyone's cases are different. There are many other things that I have tried. Some of these include, writing a letter and giving it to them when they are in the same room as you, preparing a speech for them, or just flat out telling them what you notice about it. Make sure that you have enough knowledge about it so that you can be the best prepared to inform them about it. Needless to say this is very strong of you to do and that if you need help, get it because you deserve it!! Take care of yourself and I wish you the best of luck!!
November 14th, 2019 1:23am
If you are depressed, I feel that you should try to address it by stating that you feel down. Don't bring out the big word yet, as that can trigger a serious scare. They may think that they are being a bad parent if you just come out and say it. Try telling them why you're feeling down, and ask if they may be able to take you to a professional to see if it is more serious than maybe you had anticipated. I know that i started by talking to my mom about things that made me upset, and she noticed exactly how upset it made me. She took me to the doctor where I was diagnosed. No scares.
December 18th, 2019 6:50pm
I think a human relationship is gradually built. It's hard for us to look at our parents as people, human beings with defects, dreams, fears and failures, so we want to dedicate 200% of their lives to us. To address depression, it is important to clearly and objectively convene and ask for help and that they accompany you to the specialist, it is important to know that you are going through a difficult phase and need the support of everyone. It is important to keep going, with small firm steps but knowing where you want to go. Each family has its own characteristics, but most parents love their children!
December 19th, 2019 6:13am
I told my parents I was depressed some time ago now. I think they new something was up sometime before that. I was talking less and less and found it harder and harder to smile or laugh or you know be a happy person. So when I told them I dont think it came as a huge surprise. I also told them that i needed help and asked if theyd be open to me getting the help I so desperately needed at that moment. I was lucky as my parents took it all in their stride and have been super helpful and kind.
December 19th, 2019 5:49pm
Ease it in. Do not go straight into the details, just lay it down slowly. It will make it a lot easier for you to say it, and it will make it a lot easier for them to understand it. If you kind of spell it out slowly then your parents will be able to slowly take in what you say, and it will relieve any stress they may have. No matter what you do, try to care for yourself, and think about yourself just as much as you do your parents. If you show self care, it will make the statement all the more easier.
January 1st, 2020 6:19am
There's a lot of ways to go about it, and a lot of it depends on your parents' personalities. For me, it was most helpful to discuss the physical symptoms I was having, because this is something that my parents would take more seriously. I mentioned that I was constantly tired even though I was sleeping many hours a night, that I was having unexplained muscle and headaches constantly, and I wanted to go to the doctor. Once I got to the doctor it was much easier for the medical professional to explain to my parents what depression is and what could be done to help me cope. Some other methods I've heard have good results are writing a letter or email as well so they have time to process.
January 12th, 2020 1:02pm
I know how hard it can be to feel like you're ready to open up to anyone, but in my own personal experience, there will never be a perfect time. I told myself over and over again that tomorrow would be the day, and I continued pushing it back for months. It's a leap of faith. What really helped me was focusing on telling them how my depression impacted me, and why I felt it was important for me to receive help. You don't have to share anything you don't feel comfortable with. I wish you all the best going forward. Sometimes you just have to take it one step at a time.
January 31st, 2020 9:10pm
Depending on your relationship with them, just ask if you can sit down and have a discussion with them because you have some things you need guidance with. This will indicate to them that what you have to say is important and requires their full attention. Remember that not everyone is on the same timeline as you and they may not be able to listen straight away. If it really cannot wait and they really are unavailable, try and find someone you respect and trust to have the conversation with. Be patient and the right path will present itself when you least expect it.
March 1st, 2020 3:56am
Telling your parents that you're depressed isn't easy. It's something that you need to talk to them about seriously. When you all have the time one night maybe sit down with them and make sure the phones are off and they're paying attention to you. Then you can tell them that you haven't been feeling yourself lately, that you're not okay, and that you need help. Tell them how you've been feeling and that you have been struggling. If they brush it off, just keep trying until you seem to get through to them that you're really not okay.
March 25th, 2020 1:55pm
Be straight forward. Maybe tell them that you've been feeling down lately and that you are worried about your health. If you have the feeling they wont accept it.. back then when I told my mom I wrote her a letter, explaining how I was feeling in detail , hoping for the best. She took it very lightly, if not too lighty. We have never talked about this since then but oh well, at least she knows. Don't expect your parents to immediately know how to react and handle you. Maybe you could ask them for some suggestions and help. You got this! :)
March 28th, 2020 11:04pm
If you're concerned about them reacting in a negative way, it can be helpful to broach up the issue or topic of depression from a neutral perspective to get their thoughts on it. If you assess that they are positive/understanding about the topic, you could try slowly opening up to them over time about how you feel or what you're going through. Go at a pace you're comfortable with would be what I would encourage. It's perhaps also important to explain how it's affecting you, what kind of assistance you need and what you expect from them because sometimes parents can also feel confused about what to feel about the situation and giving them some clarity and time to acclimatize themselves to the situation might make them more understanding about the topic in the long term.