My child said he has felt suicidal and depressed but won’t accept help and now tells me he’s fine

This was one of the questions from my presentation to parents on how to prevent youth suicide in Lafayette, California. I figured it might be a common question so I wanted to post it here.

Charles didn’t comply worth squat. It was uber frustrating and what’s more, it made me feel desperate. So I have several strategies that others have shared have been effective.

  • You make an appointment with a therapist. Yes, you. Not your loved one. At some point, you invite your child to go. But here’s the deal. You approach it like this. You say you went to get help because it felt like your life was spiraling and you wanted to know how to manage your feelings around the issue. Then say to your child. “I’ve been struggling so I went to a therapist for help. He has asked if I can bring in some family members to help me with my issues. Would you help me with this? You don’t have to go again if you don’t want but I would appreciate it.
diary of a broken mind
  • Jacob, a dad, bought my first book, Diary of a Broken Mind. He read it and then left it lying around the house and then their teenager read it and it opened up a conversation. Charles’s lyrics are included in every other chapter and it’s that insight that helps parents understand. And the young people love them because it illustrates how they feel. Another parent, Carolyn, read it and bookmarked some of Charles’s rap songs and then specifically asked her son if that’s how he felt. Her son was shocked at how on target the passage was and it opened up an hour-long heart-to-heart conversation and listening. Ultimately her son felt seen and heard and has since been more open with his mom.
  • A number of attendees at NAMI family to family, which is a free class for people who have loved ones who live with a mental health condition. One of the attendees, a dad, told his daughter he was going to this class. She asked him why and he said he felt their relationship could be better and he thought it was his lack of understanding that was getting in the way. He said he wanted to go to the class so he could understand more about what she lived with and so he could be more empathic. She cried and gave him a hug and said, “thank you.” Then they had one of the best conversations ever.

Published by

AnneMoss Rogers

AnneMoss Rogers is a mental health and suicide education expert, mental health speaker, suicide prevention trainer and consultant. She is author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW. She raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost her younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. She is a motivational speaker who empowers by educating and provides life saving strategies and emotionally healthy coping skills. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now that's the legacy she carries forward in her son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website.

4 thoughts on “My child said he has felt suicidal and depressed but won’t accept help and now tells me he’s fine”

  1. Not once in the last 10 years of my life have I been brave enough to tell my parents “I feel suicidal” & the only reason they ever knew was when they would get phone calls/visits to the house from CAMHS, Social Work, Police etc.) or I went missing & had to be taken to hospital as I had overdosed, it was protocol that before I could be discharged, I had to speak to someone from the Crisis Assessment Treatment Team, once they warned my parents that they were going to section me under the mental health act but after speaking with them they were satisfied that I was safe enough to go home, I remember my social worker at the time also saying that it would be detrimental as I would see people who were “really sick” like what I was feeling didn’t exist, I fought tooth & nail to be heard & taken seriously, but my calls for help went unanswered so in the end, I gave up trying & accepted the reality that I most likely would one day die by suicide.

  2. Anne, you have been very helpful to me as I travel this journey since the loss of Jason, my son, by suicide nearly three years ago. He hid his pain for so long until he just couldn’t. When I brought up my concerns to him he’d always say he’s just fine. Then the psychosis, depression and anxiety kicked in and ravaged his mind. He is at peace. I’m looking for mine. Thank you for being here for us. I did read your book. Not an easy read by any means. I’m so sorry. Thank you for what you do.

    1. Susan- Our boys struggled in a culture where their feelings are not always accepted. They are allowed happiness and anger. I am sorry we are in the same club. I appreciate your comment and your story.

      Thank you for reading the book and if you have not already please leave a review. https://amzn.to/2pw5id8

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