My Mom Struggles With Mental Health. Any Advice on How to Help Her?

Published: January 13, 2021
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I am a 17 year old high school senior. For most of my life I have lived alone with my mom and my step-dad. I am an only child. My mom has for a long time struggled with some obvious mental problems, but has always refused to acknowledge them or even seek help for them. She clearly has issues with anxiety (possible OCD) and she even has trouble with reality sometimes. At first, it didn't seem too bad but lately she has been crying a lot, lashing out (verbally), shirking some of her responsibilities, and even freezing at times, seemingly unable to move. My step-dad is far too much of a pushover to say anything to her and no matter how much I try to convince her to get psychological help, she refuses and lashes out at me. She comes from a culture with a strong stigma against mental health stuff, so I doubt she will ever willingly get the help she needs. Any advice on how I can help her?
Signed: My Mom Struggles With Mental Health. Any Advice on How to Help Her?

Dear My Mom Struggles With Mental Health. Any Advice on How to Help Her?,

TeenHealthFX is sorry to hear about what you are going through. It can be very difficult to try to get someone help when they do not want it, especially when it is a parent. We strongly recommend reaching out to a trusted adult, teacher, school counselor, or school nurse and let them know what is going on. They will be able to point you in the right direction and help you get the information and support that you may need.

In the meantime, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has some great resources and tips on how to practice self-care during these hard times. Self-care includes exercising, eating healthy foods, mediating, or other things you enjoy. Also listening to music, reaching out to friends, or enjoying a fun hobby can also be helpful. It is very important to try to keep in mind that your mom’s mental illness is not your fault and to take it easy on yourself.

If you need immediate assistance, call 911 or if you live in Northern New Jersey you can call the Northern New Jersey crisis hotline from Morristown Medical Center at 973-540-0100. Nationally you can text the Crisis Text Line by Texting HOME to 741741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor. We also have a Mental Health resource page with additional hotlines and websites that may be helpful.

Signed: TeenHealthFX