September 26, 2023

How to talk to your parents about mental health?

Approaching our parents for anything may be daunting for most of us for many reasons. For some, it’s the fear of upsetting them. Yet, for others, it’s the fear of not being heard and understood. This is especially true in talking with them about mental health matters, which are still riddled with stigma up to this day. 

In this article, we explain why talking to your parents about mental health helps, provide tips on what to do in such conversation, and steps you can take when you feel like they weren’t helpful after you opened up to them. 

Why Talking to Your Parents About Mental Health Helps 

It’s a totally valid feeling to hesitate about approaching your parents about mental health issues you may be facing. However, here are some reasons why initiating a conversation with your parents about your mental health might actually be a good idea: 

1) The Feeling of Relief 

The most important reason why you should talk to your parents about mental health is that you’ll most probably no longer feel you’re alone after sharing your sentiments with them. Your emotional burden will ease up and feel lighter when you share it. 

2) A Fresh Perspective 

Your parents may provide a fresh perspective on what you’re going through. Aside from listening to what’s bothering you, they may also offer sound advice that you may consider incorporating in how you handle your problem.  

3) Getting Them Involved 

Your parents will appreciate it if you get them involved in helping you face your problems, rather than if you do it alone. A key part of recovering from mental health issues is having a good support system, and parents who genuinely love and support you will definitely take up the part. 

talk to your parents about mental health

Tips On Starting a Mental Health Conversation with Your Parents 

Preparing for the conversation and choosing the right timing and setting are important points to consider so you’ll feel less intimidated about opening up with your parents. Honesty and patience are also important when answering questions your parents may ask about your situation.  

1) Prepare for the Conversation 

Gathering your thoughts and finding the right words for what you want to say can help you feel more at ease. Take the time to contemplate what you’re feeling and how it impacts your life. You may also opt to write down notes to make it more organized. 

Another aspect of preparing for the conversation is preparing yourself for how they’ll react. Understand that they may take time to process what you’re experiencing and may even react defensively if they think they’re responsible for what you’re going through. 

2) Choose the Right Timing and Setting 

Choosing the right timing and setting is important in having a healthy conversation with your parents. Choose a time when you get your parents’ full attention and when they’re open for a conversation. As much as possible, choose a private space, one without distractions, for the conversation as well. You may also try to inform your parents ahead of time that you’ll want to have a serious discussion with them in the coming days. 

3) Speak from the Heart 

When you finally decide to speak to your parents about your mental health, do so as honestly and as openly as possible. Your words will resonate more and reach out to them better when you speak from the heart and without hesitations. 

4) Patiently Explain What You’re Going Through 

Explain what you’re experiencing as vividly and as straightforwardly as possible, so they’ll have a clearer picture of what you’re going through. Do this without your emotions getting the better of you. Your parents may have a lot of questions about your condition – make sure you answer them in ways that they can understand 

5) Inform Them of Ways That They Can Help 

In most cases, your parents may not know how to help. Informing them of ways on how they can help. You may ask them to help you book an appointment with your preferred specialist or therapist. You may also ask them to accompany you to your therapy sessions. You may also ask them to do simple gestures like checking up on how you’re feeling once in a while. 

Mental Health Conversation with Your Parents 

What to Do If You Feel Like It Didn’t Go Well as Planned 

Sometimes, things might not go well as planned despite your best efforts to reach out to your parents. You may feel like your parents may not have understood or simply won’t listen to your struggles. This might be because they’re also trying to get hold of the situation, especially when they came from a generation where mental health matters are rarely talked about. They may also be unaware of mental health challenges as they haven’t experienced them themselves. 

Remember also that your parents are also human and might not know what to do. They may find it hard to accept what’s happening to you and may feel guilty, especially if they feel like they’re the ones who have caused it.  

1) Explain How Getting Professional Help Will Benefit You 

To further emphasize your need to get professional help, it’s best to enumerate precautions you might have taken for your well-being. You may have tried eating a healthy diet to fight off any hormonal imbalance. You may have also tried yoga or other meditation exercises to help ease your mind. Patiently explain why you think that self-care is no longer enough to keep you from struggling; that’s why you really want to get into therapy. 

2) Convince Them that Professional Help Doesn’t Need to Be Expensive 

It’s undeniable that affordable mental health care is often hard to find. This may be another reason that may make your parents worry. They may be concerned about the fees that seeking professional help may incur.  

With that, it’s best to let your parents know about more affordable and accessible alternatives, such as the reasonable rates that we offer at Archways Centre for CBT. There are also many ways to reimburse your treatment costs with us. Seeking help from your school counsellors and faith leaders is also a good option as well.  

3) Open Up to Trusted Family Members or Friends 

If you feel like your attempts to reach out to your parents have been futile, you may consider confiding to trusted family members or close friends about your situation. These people may even help you make your parents understand what you’re going through and be included in your support system.  

Personalized Treatment Approaches at Archway Centre for CBT 

Opening up to your parents about mental health may be overwhelming, and it’s definitely okay to feel that way. Deciding to initiate the conversation and take proactive steps to do it is a start and may help you feel better in the long run. There are also other options you may consider should you feel that what happened after the conversation isn’t the outcome you want. Remember, your best health is the priority and shouldn’t be compromised. 

At Archways Centre for CBT, we’re committed to providing personalized treatment approaches to more effectively reach out to our patients’ needs. Our team of qualified therapists will be here to guide you on your journey to recovery. Contact us here today to learn more.      

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