“How Do I Tell My Family I’m Depressed?” 5 Tips for Finding Support and Treatment

Do you feel stuck amidst your heavy feelings? Have you asked yourself, how do I tell my family I’m depressed? and not yet found the answer? While it can be challenging, meaningful conversations with those who care about you are an important step forward toward transforming your life. Here, you’ll find tips to get those conversations started.

Reaching out can feel like a big effort, but when you do so, you also turn a corner toward healing. So, that reach goes a long way. You don’t have to struggle with depression on your own. And, even more, your recovery will be significantly more effective and lasting with help.

Have you wondered, how do I tell my family I’ve depressed? Maybe you’ve worried about whether you can find the right words, whether they’ll understand, or even whether there really is a road to recovery. Chances are that your loved ones are already concerned about your emotional health and are also looking for ways to talk about it. You can always start somewhere and take it one step at a time.

How Depression Can Leave You Feeling Stuck


Does your depression leave you feeling out of control and out of options? You are not out of options, but taking steps forward can feel uncertain and intimidating. That’s why it’s so important to have help and support.

Take a step back to think about some of the things that might be holding you back from talking to people about what you’re going through. Some common concerns might be:

  • They may not take you seriously
  • They may not take the issue and the risks seriously
  • They may feel afraid, overwhelmed, unsure of how to help
  • They may ask uncomfortable questions
  • They might judge or doubt you
  • They might try to speak over or lecture you
  • They already have too many things to worry about

But alongside these concerns, remember that depression is a real mental health disorder. It’s unlikely that it will just go away with time. Your loved ones don’t want you to suffer. And, by giving them a look into some of what you’re feeling, you can allow them to walk alongside you as you take steps toward treatment and recovery.

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Taking Healing Steps—How Do I Tell My Family I’m Depressed?


Right now, under the weight of your depression, simply sitting down to talk about it can feel like an enormous burden. But the truth is that you really don’t need to be carrying that heavy weight alone. Here are some ideas about how to think about and approach conversations with your family and friends about how you are struggling with depression.

1 – Just Start Somewhere

You don’t have to get to the most challenging aspects of your feelings right away. You don’t even have to cover everything in the first conversation. There’s something empowering about even beginning to open up. When you reach out to someone about your depression, you’re opening up to the seriousness of your own pain, to the possibilities for help and healing, to the empowering option of moving forward.

2 – Broaden Your List of Supportive People

Sometimes it can feel as if your spouse or your parent or sibling is too close to talk to. Sometimes there is someone else who may be a little more distant but you are more open to the idea of sharing some of your sensitivities with them. They may be a cousin, a grandparent, a co-worker, a teacher, a coach, a counselor, a friend of a friend. Sometimes opening your mind up to this wider list of possibilities gives you that opportunity to just start somewhere. Maybe talking to this person is a way to practice before talking to someone else who is closer to you. Or maybe talking to this person opens up doors to next steps for recovery.

3 – Write Your Feelings Down

You may still feel hesitant to take the first step in conversation even after gathering your strength and resources. But you might be better able to start by writing your thoughts and feelings down on paper—by hand or typing and printing from a computer. You could either read your words out loud to your family or friends or give it to them to read. This could be a great way to get all of your thoughts and feelings out without interruptions. And it takes care of the concern that you might freeze or forget what you intended to say.

4 – Try Again

Don’t think of the first conversation as the one that must cover everything you hope to accomplish. Your journey toward healing will happen one step at a time, and each time you reach out to share with family or friends will be a very important step forward. You may need to grow into your ability to share these sensitive parts of yourself, and your loved ones may need some time to embrace your truth and the ways they can support you. So, don’t set exaggerated expectations for this first chat, and don’t hesitate to talk again. And again.

5 – Remember That Reliable Help Is Always Available

It’s very important to have family support. It can go a long way to helping you in the early stages of recovery and in the long term. But they can’t be your only healing resource. And if you don’t find the help you’re hoping for from family, you can always reach right out to a treatment center and expect a compassionate and supportive response.

No matter who you talk to among your family and friends, part of the conversation should be about what kind of treatment you will seek. As heavy and disempowering as depression can be, it’s absolutely possible to transform the negativity and distress you experience. Your better life really is around the corner when you take steps into positive treatment.

Bridges to Recovery offers comprehensive residential treatment for people struggling with mental health disorders as well as process addictions. Contact us to learn more about our renowned Los Angeles and San Diego-based programs and how we can help you or your loved one start the journey toward healing.