It can be helpful to talk with someone about how you're feeling. They can give an outsider’s view of the situation that you find distressing or help you look at it differently. They can also help figure out the cause of your feelings.
Talking about your problem can be helpful in itself. Sharing can make you feel less alone with it and help relieve the stress of coping with it. The other person may be able to offer reassurance, support or information, or help you get connected with services.
Thinking about the following questions can help you with this conversation:
Who do I want to talk to?
Choose someone you're comfortable talking to, someone you trust – a person who won’t make fun of you or make light of your situation, not freak out or overreact, not tell other people, take you seriously, and who will be nice and sympathetic. If you just want to talk, a friend may be a great choice, whereas if you’re looking to find professional help, an adult such as a parent or doctor might be a better choice. Sometimes it's easier to speak with someone who doesn't know you and to know it will be kept confidential.
- Parent (for tips on talking to your parents about depression visit KidsHealth)
- Another family member e.g., grandparent, aunt, sibling, cousin
- Teacher/School Counsellor
- Family Doctor
- Peer support volunteers/counsellors
- Distress Line Volunteer
What kind of help do I want from them?
- Just to talk
- To find out where you can get more info
- Help finding services such as counseling
How do I want to communicate?
Starting the Conversation
- Let them know you have something you want to talk about. You might want to write down what you want to say.
- Start by explaining that you need some help with a problem. Think of some examples from your life as this may help them to better understand what’s going on.
- If you’re not sure how the person will react, one option is to test the waters. For example, you can talk about a story you read in the news and see how the person reacts. This will give you an idea of their views and whether they’re likely to be sympathetic.
- You could also start conversation more generally - talk about how you’ve not been feeling great, rather than saying you’re feeling depressed.
Be prepared for a range of different reactions. Remember that someone’s initial reaction isn’t always the longer term reaction. The person may be surprised at learning this about you and it may take a little while for them to process it. Life’s full of ups and downs. Sharing our experiences with the people in our lives is natural and healthy and that includes sharing both the ups and downs.