In many cases, mental illness can be an incredibly isolating experience. A depressed person may hesitate to share their experiences for fear of judgment. At the same time, someone struggling with anxiety would rather write off their symptoms than address them. In reality, holding these feelings in can end up causing more damage. Getting the necessary help can quite literally be lifesaving, or at least change it for the better. That is why Banyan Boca is exploring how to talk to your parents about mental health and what you can do when various situations might arise.
Tips for Effective Communication
While it can be hard to predict the future or how a certain conversation will go, you can take steps to prepare yourself. These steps can help you make the most of these important conversations and help you to reevaluate if something does not go as planned.
Mental Preparation Is Key
If you have never spoken with your parents about something as important as this, it is important to mentally prepare yourself for things that may be brought up. These conversations may seem tense and getting sidetracked or taken off guard can make it harder to say what needs to be said. Honesty is crucial, but so is taking the feelings of the person you are talking to into consideration. Make sure to factor in what you know about them. This can give you a better chance of knowing what is appropriate to say. It might also keep any more feelings from getting hurt should your parents resist your needs.
Write Out Your Thoughts
If you are especially worried about getting tongue-tied, write down what you would like to say ahead of time. Keeping a regular journal is helpful for this. It can help you recall clear moments that significantly impacted your mental health. If you are still worried about not being able to get the words out in person, writing your parents a letter that details your needs is also an option.
Pick an Appropriate Time and Place
When considering how to talk to your parents about mental health, it is crucial to ensure you do so in an environment where you have their full attention. If you can, pick a time when you are all relatively relaxed, like on a walk or during a meal. Breaking the news to them while rushing to school or work can add negative tension. It might even make them less likely to comprehend the situation's gravity.
Be Honest With Them
Being upfront about what is troubling you is the most effective first step to overcoming it. When you honestly explain what you are feeling, this helps to paint the picture of the severity of the situation. It can also help your parents better understand the kind of support that you need.
Speaking With People Who Do Not Understand Mental Health
Sadly, there will be individuals who will resist what you are expressing. Whether it is through a lack of education about the severity of mental health, or people from cultures that hold stigmas around it, these scenarios can feel troubling for someone who is vulnerable. If you are struggling to communicate your needs to your parents despite your best efforts, consider seeking out extra support from another adult that you can trust. Whether that is a guidance counselor or a free helpline that can aid you in building bridges of understanding, opting for this support can make a significant difference.
Just as communicating can take time, so can learning how to support a child that is struggling in a way that they do not understand. In some cases, your parents may just need some time to process this information. It is common for people, and especially parents, to react defensively to news that things are not as perfect as they seem.
Remember that we are all human, and we each have our own emotions, thoughts, and needs. Do your best to not get defensive. If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable, disengage, and rely on any external support that you have access to. Then make it a priority to ensure that you do not let yourself down by pushing your needs to the side.
Banyan Boca Mental Health Can Help
At Banyan, our team of clinical professionals is here to ensure that resources are available. Our Florida mental health rehab offers a variety of programs and unique therapies to aid our patients in overcoming what troubles them. For those 18 and older, we can help you work through varying forms of mental illness, with options for Boca Raton anxiety treatment and depression treatment, among others. Family services are also available to provide support to your loved ones as you pursue treatment.
To learn more about our Florida mental health services, call Banyan Boca at 888-280-4763 and speak with a trained intake specialist today.