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icare
icare asks:
Q:

How can I help my 19 year old son with depression

My son graduated 5th in his class.  He wanted to attend a private school, so my husband and I paid for his first year in the school.  In the spring, he called home and said he hadn't left his room for 4 days and was planning how to kill himself.  We brought him home and found him a good psychiatrist and therapist.  He is on medication.  He found a job over the summer at a local retail store and wanted to go back to college at a local college in the fall.  We again paid his tuition and found out 3 days before the end of the semester that he hadn't been attending school for the past 2 months.  His classes started after we went to work and ended before we got home.  He had been lying to us and his therapist and psychiatrist.  He wasn't running around, he was just staying in his room in a depression that he hid from everyone.  He wanted go back to college again in the spring at the local school, so on the advice of his therapist and psychiatrist we again paid for him to go back on a limited number of credits.  A few days ago was the end of the first week of school and we found out that he lied to us twice this week and didn't go to school.  We don't see his therapist for a few more days and are at a loss as to what to do.  He is a truly good person, but we feel that we can't trust him at all anymore. How many chances do we give him?  help
In Topics: Teen issues, Depression
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jan 21, 2011
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What the Expert Says:

We are very sorry to hear that your son is struggling with depression. It is difficult when our children are not well and we want to do everything we can to help. The love and concern you have for him is apparent in the words that you write.

As much as you want your son to attend college again, would it be an option for him to take time off from school and get himself on track with his mental health? If he is suffering from depression and anxiety, do you think school is too stressful for him right now? Maybe he could get a job and work for awhile until he decides what it is he wants to do in school. Taking a break does not mean he will not return. But as parents who are paying for his education, it would be important to know that he is willing follow through with his treatment and commit to school before returning again.

It's good to hear that you have found a good therapist and psychiatrist. However, if you feel that the medication and/or their therapeutic approach is not helping your son, you have the right to get a second opinion from another mental health provider. Sometimes it takes a few tries to find the right medication and therapist.

Our Hotline is for parents, kids and young adults. You and your son can call us or e-mail us anytime. We are here 24/7 to listen and to help with any problem. Take care and best wishes to you and your son.

Sincerely,
Cynthia, Crisis Counselor
Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000
hotline@boystown.org

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Additional Answers (3)

jmamable
jmamable , Caregiver writes:
Hi icare,

I'm going to be honest here: you're in a very hard situation, and I feel for you. Unfortunately, there is no right answer to your current situation.

As someone from a family that has dealt with depression, the most important piece of advice I can give you is do NOT give up on him. It's especially important during the toughest times like these, because that's when he's really going to need you the most, especially if he has been having suicidal thoughts. I know it's very hard to keep in mind that these behaviors aren't his fault when you're at your wit's end with him, but do everything you can to make sure he knows you are not going anywhere and will always be there to help him any way you can.

This doesn't mean you have to be a pushover -- like you said, he's lied to you in the past, and giving in to everything he asks for won't help him in the long run. It's hard to stay supportive during the daily ups and downs of depression, especially during times when he's doing self-destructive things you just can't understand -- I've been there, I know how endlessly frustrating it can be. But remember that depression is different for everyone and affects their families in different ways. The one piece of advice that will typically work for every family is to always be there for your loved one.

If you are able to work through this rough patch and he decides to go back to school or get a job, make sure he has a plan. Try and sit down with him and work out a simple plan, with simple goals he can easily attain, that won't cost you or him a lot of time, effort, or money. Maybe with some small steps, you can get him on the right track again.

I don't know if any of this advice will work, but it's worth a shot! Best wishes to you and your family.
> 60 days ago

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lovelife4eva
lovelife4eva writes:
I am very sorry to hear that and I know how it feels.  I recently just lost an aunt that I was very close to and she just took her life away.  My advice to you is first explain to him that there is a problem, don't try to give him direct advice but if he asks for help be sure to deliver that to him.  Second, explain that asking for help does not mean they lack moral character.  Third, learn everything you can about clinical depression.  Fourth, provide emotional support.  Fifth, provide physical support.  Sixth, monitor possible suicidal gestures or threats.  Seventh, don’t try to talk the depressed person out of his or her feelings.  Eighth, step back every so often.  Ninth, communicate with other people in the person's support network.  Tenth, take good care of yourself. Eleventh, stay in contact.  About him lying to you I don't really have any advice for that but I would take in concederation that he DOES have a problem which needs to be solved as soon as possible. Hope this helps and I am very sorry about the situation.  Below is a link which might be more specific and easier to understand. :)

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jessie205
jessie205 writes:
Im sorry to hear this because I've struggled with depression since I was about that age and im 33 now, but I went to several different doctor's and psychiatrist and therapist and the best thing that has helped me and may help your son also. I got me a notebook that no one knows about and when I get upset I write down what Im feeling and why I feel that way, and even talk to some people about it but it's really hard at times to do. Another thing is to let him no that you're there for him no matter what because the security of knowing that will help him alot, because when someone is depressed they think that everyone is against them and no one is there for them even though you no that you are, try this and if I can help look me up Im on here everyday now
> 60 days ago

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