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Re: Ask A Pro Live: Opening Up To Parents

I found it so hard to talk to my parents about SH when I was younger. They said I was doing it for attention and years later denied they knew about it Smiley Sad But last year I saw a psychiatrist for the first time and they had to talk to my parents for safety reasons. Although it was terrible at the time, the psychiatrist was able to get through to them better than I ever did and give them facts about mental health. So I think having a professional support with you to tell them is an amazing idea! Also I remember the psychiatrist saying "ah now I get what you mean about your family" (saying stuff was for attention). It felt so much easier for someone to understand why I had hidden all this stuff from people for such a long time. Hehe okay enough oversharing from me

Re: Ask A Pro Live: Opening Up To Parents

Ahh, this one is a great question! I always feel bad for making people worry Smiley Sad. I feel like there's also a chance of compassion fatigue too if it's long going, which is the worst...

Re: Ask A Pro Live: Opening Up To Parents

Absolutely right that bloody stigma has a lot to answer for! There is a great chat about mental health and stigma being had on this thread if anyone wants to check it out Smiley Happy

Re: Ask A Pro Live: Opening Up To Parents

Yup definitely a great question! I feel like I'm such a burden on my family and friend because they worry about me. It's kind of a vicious cycle

Re: Ask A Pro Live: Opening Up To Parents

I'm so glad that your psychiatrist was able to be a good support for you and get through to your parents more @Lost_Space_Explorer5 - it can be so huge having someone like that in your corner! I can completely understand why you'd end up hiding things if you were told that things were just for attention Smiley Sad That is really, really tough. 

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Re: Ask A Pro Live: Opening Up To Parents

Thats great to hear that getting your fam in to meet your psych turned out to be a positive experience @Lost_Space_Explorer5, and @Hozzles you're so right about compassion fatigue, it's something so tricky to navigate indeed!

 

This is a super interesting NEW Q  that I am so KEEN to hear everyones thoughts on...

 

Whose decision do you think it should be how involved a parent is in their childs mental health, or how aware they are, and are there any factors that influence this?

Parent Outmatched GIF by FOX TV

 

Re: Ask A Pro Live: Opening Up To Parents

@Lost_Space_Explorer5  I'm glad the psychiatrist was helpful! Smiley Happy Like you, I also had a better experience when a psychiatrist explained my diagnoses and how I was acting to my mum. I felt like the psychiatrist really listened to me and wanted to help my parents understand too.

@Janine-RO  I think that there is so much stigma around mental health. People seem to think it's normal to be depressed when you're experiencing some physical problems, but not others. I think that a diagnosis can be both a blessing and a curse. In some ways, it can be a good explanation but at the same time, my parents sometimes just pin a person's behaviour and thoughts down to them being 'crazy' or 'mad' rather than actually taking the time to think about why the person could be feeling that way.

Re: Ask A Pro Live: Opening Up To Parents

Hehe do you know the quote "I am the lorax and I speak for the trees"?- I feel like that's what (good) mental health workers do when they talk to your family @WheresMySquishy

Re: Ask A Pro Live: Opening Up To Parents

I think that "diagnosis can be a blessing and a curse" is something that rings true for lots of people @WheresMySquishy - it can definitely help with getting the right treatment, but can also put us in a box.

Re: Ask A Pro Live: Opening Up To Parents

** Deep breaths** 

 

Ok guys, I have to apologise because this answer is a bit of an essay! I also wanted to say that it's really important to have a chat with your mental health professional / treating teams about this one, because there's a lot of factors at play. So this advice won't fit every situation perfectly, but I've done my best to cover the main issues here. I would LOVE to hear other people's thoughts here too, it's a really complex question I think and what's right for one family won't be right for another...

 

 

Who's decision do you think it should be how involved a parent is in their child's mental health, or how aware of it they are, and are there any factors that influence this?

 

This is a really important question!!!  Ideally, I think it should be the young person’s  decision first and foremost  – but there are a few factors that can influence that.

 

 If you’re seeing a mental health professional professional like a counsellor, psychologist or psychiatrist then they should have a chat to you about confidentiality in your first session- and confidentiality is super important to building a trusting relationship and being able to talk openly about what’s going on for you. 

 

One major factor that influences  how aware your parents need to be about mental health/ treatment is your age- and the rules around that vary from state to state, you can check out the different rules around confidentiality,  and when you’re considered what’s called ‘competent’ to make your own decisions around your health care here: I’ve just copied and pasted a few of the rules on this thread as well.

 

Automatic confidentiality

‘Automatic confidentiality’ means that unless you’re likely to be seriously harmed or your life is at risk, a doctor or other health professional is required by law to keep what you say private, even from your parents or guardian. The age by which you have automatic confidentiality rights is:

  • 14 years and over in the Northern Territory
  • 16 and over in New South Wales and South Australia
  • 18 and over everywhere else in Australia.

Pre-automatic confidentiality

Even if you're below the age of having automatic confidentiality in your state, most things you say to a doctor, including things about sex, drug use and other difficult stuff, will generally remain private. The best way to know for sure is to ask the doctor, psychologist, counsellor or nurse at the beginning of a consultation or session what information about you will be kept private and what won’t

  • The second factor is any high risk situations- if you’re under 16 and you’re at risk of serious harm to  yourself or  someone else, a  health care professional will need to break confidentiality and either tell your parents/ carers, or make a child protection report. If you’re 17-18

Another thing to consider is if it would be helpful for your parents/ family to have a session with your counsellor or psych at all, so that you can talk over what’s happening in a safe space, only disclosing what YOU feel comfortable with- some people do find it really helpful to have their family know a bit more about what’s going on for them and the best ways to help support them. It can also help a lot with the anxiety and uncertainty that parents might be feeling about what’s happening – but it is totally up to you.

 

Finally – I feel like it’s important to acknowledge that some relationships with parents can be really tough, and even abusive. If that’s the case, it might be better for you to open up to another adult in your life, like a coach, school counsellor, teacher or a trusted older friend. Family dynamics can be really complex, and in some cases you may feel that it' not right for you to have your parents heavily involved with what's happening with your mental health - and the boundaries you set may also change over time. 

 

So yeah, this stuff can be freaking complicated. But I'm a huge believer in young people being at the center of their own care and having choice and control over what is right for them.

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