What if my teen doesn't want help with their mental health?

If your teenager is having a rough time, one of the best things you can do is help them see a mental health professional like a psychologist, counsellor, or social worker. However, even if they're in distress, some young people refuse professional help. There are lots of different reasons for this– maybe they don't believe a professional could help them, maybe they're rather go at their problems alone, or maybe they feel embarrassed to speak to somebody they don't know.

In this video, our host Bryden sat down with Carl Nelms, a registered psychologist who's been helping young people and their parents for years. They discuss why young people refuse help and how parents can respond.

Read the transcript.

Here are a few things we learned:

  • You can't force a young person to see a mental health professional. If your teenager repeatedly refuses help, the best thing you can do as a parent is continue to provide your own support, care and guidance. That way, if they ever change their mind, they'll know you'll be there to give them a hand.

  • The rapport a mental health professional has with a young person is so important. That's why if a young person is able to go online and take an active role in finding their own psychologist or counsellor, it might help them feel more engaged in the process and find someone they can really relate to.

  • If your teen doesn't think they have a problem, it might be helpful to explain to them that seeking professional help isn't only for people who are unwell. Mental health professionals give people strategies for dealing with life's challenges no matter what their wellbeing is like currently.

Did you find what you needed?

  • Yes - If your teen is open to the idea of seeing a mental health professional, here are a few tips that can help them get the most out of the experience.

  • No - If you're wondering whether your teen should seek professional help or not, check out this video with clinical psychologist Anna Sidis.

  • I need to know more - For more on how you can help your teen seek professional support, click here.