Being a teenager has never been harder. An estimated 10–20% of adolescents globally experience mental health conditions, yet these remain underdiagnosed and undertreated. The numbers are so alarming that we tried to understand why these teens are not getting therapeutic help when required? Many teens expressed their hesitation in being able to approach the subject of mental health and therapy with their parents. If you have been wondering ‘how can I tell my parents that I want to go to therapy, give this blog a read.
Teens find it hard to talk to their parents about depression, ADHD, bullying, loneliness, sexuality, anxiety, and probably anything with disagreeable or uncomfortable topic areas. We have tried to answer the questions for all the teens who are trying to seek therapy and are finding it hard to communicate with their parents.
Talking about mental health with your parents can feel difficult for a number of reasons. Some people find it hard to admit to their parents how they have been feeling; they worry that their parents will be disappointed or angry with them. Others worry that their parents won’t understand, or won’t believe them. Many teens worry if their parents would not agree to let them take therapy?
Preparing yourself for the difficult conversation with your parents
We urge all teenagers to make a decision to talk to someone about how you feel. This is a really mature decision and a great first step that your parents would be proud of. You know your own feelings and experiences of stress, depression, or anxiety better than anybody. It’s time to express them and seek help.
Organizing your thoughts
Sometimes when we go to have a difficult conversation, all of our well thought out reasons or examples seem to abandon our brain for a minute. The anxiety of talking about the issues that we’re facing can cause us to clam up completely. Organizing your thoughts beforehand can be a really useful strategy for feeling more confident before going into the discussion. Try listing down your reasons and experiences so if you get stuck you have something to refer to. You could even try practicing the conversation in your head ahead of time, or try downloading WYSA to practice with him.
Timing is everything
When you’re talking to your parents, timing, as in most cases in life, is everything. When your parents are rushing to work, or struggling to finish off a job – they are less likely to be in the right mindset to listen to you properly. Choosing a time when they are relaxed, without too many distractions means you are far more likely to have a productive and thought-out discussion. Quiet time together such as going for a walk or having a cup of tea is a great starting point.
You don’t have to talk to both of your parents at the same time. If you find it easier to speak to one parent first, that’s okay too. You might even find it easier to speak whilst doing something, to avoid that feeling of being observed. Cooking together or walking the dog are both great spaces for sharing.
Increase awareness in your parents
Remember, being a teenager now is completely different from just a few short years ago. Your parents didn’t have to contend with social media or online bullying. Coping strategies like self-harm were far less common than they are now. This difference in personal life experiences can make your parents react with shock and fear. Many times when teens tell parents about their depression or other mental health concerns, parents either assume the worse or not always appreciate the severity of the experience. So preparing an explanation of the severity, how it makes you feel or even signposting them to some websites or printouts can help explain and be really useful.
Seeking Self Help
It’s important to understand yourself and track your mood. You can find many tools inside Wysa which will help you to learn more about why you are feeling the way you are and some tricks and self-help tips to help improve your mood and work towards your goals. Digital tools can’t always help with severe feelings of depression however they do make great listeners, and you never know, you might just learn a new skill that helps you to get back to feeling like yourself again.
Discuss the Cost of Therapy
When discussing your desire to see a therapist there are a few key things to remember. In many countries, including the UK and the US, there is free access to mental health support for those young people whose experiences are stopping them from thriving. These can be accessed by a referral from your GP and your parent can help you make that appointment. However in many countries, therapy has to be paid for and even in countries where there are services available, many young people won’t meet the threshold for professional counseling.
In these circumstances, it is important to have an open conversation with your parents about the cost of therapy. You may need to ask your parents to help you look at any insurance policies the family has to see if they cover this type of support. They may not be able to afford professional fees in which case it can be helpful to look into other options available, such as counseling offered by local charities or school counseling.
Online counseling is also an excellent option as it is comparatively more convenient and very affordable. With the consent of your parents, you can always seek therapy online. However, it’s important to check the credibility of the online therapy platform beforehand. Wysa offers the most secure and affordable online therapy chat options.