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How do you help your teen deal with the stigma of Mental Illness?

Discussion forum for parents in Australia

How do you help your teen deal with the stigma of Mental Illness?


Re: How do you help your teen deal with the stigma of Mental Illness?

Hi @Elena, is kind of is but unfortunately all still relevant. We have not come far at all in 5 months & 2 weeks since my daughters breakdown last August but cross fingers that 2 weeks ago a change of medication may have brought a breakthrough and a tiny speck of hope for recovery. 

I really appreciate your message as I need reminding often to look after myself too. I forget myself amongst it all and have had a few times when I've really not been ok. 


Also, meeting with the school on Tuesday. Thanks for sending me some extra strength (I need it) as it's hard going in there as "the mother". I need to stay focussed. 

Super contributor

Re: How do you help your teen deal with the stigma of Mental Illness?

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Hey @LovingThruBlue please don't ever apologise for things not resolving in a nice, manageable timeframe!

Sometimes I think the biggest lie sold to us by television is the idea that issues can be sorted by the end of the episode. Life just is not that simple.

Please feel free to start a new thread whenever you want to. Robot Very Happy


How did the meeting on Tuesday go?


And to help you more with the self care, head over here!



Re: How do you help your teen deal with the stigma of Mental Illness?

Hi there,

I'm in a very similar situation to you, my step daughter is 15 and she had a crisis 3 weeks ago. My partner contacted me at work and told me that she came to him and said she was thinking about suicide. I told him to get her in to see the GP asap so he did. She went back to her mother's house later that day and ended up spending a night in the children's hospital (we live in Western Australia) where she saw an adolescent crisis team psychologist. She was already seeing a different psychologist regularly as she has been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, OCD, ADHD and autism (level 2) about 18 months ago. She sees a psychiatrist too.

We also found out that she has been self harming and we had no idea about this at all. Didn't even see any signs or find anything in her room or in our house that she might have used to self harm. We feel so guilty about this, blaming ourselves. I feel guilty because I clean her room and never saw any signs that she was self harming.

We also had to hide anything that she could use to self harm. We are still coming to terms with all of this while also trying to be supportive of my partner's daughter.

I've had lots of friends tell me that we need to look after ourselves too, which we are trying to do but it's still hard.

Super contributor

Re: How do you help your teen deal with the stigma of Mental Illness?

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Hi @Fitzie_76 


Thanks for sharing your experience, though we are sorry that you can relate to this difficult situation. It can be really confronting and shocking to learn that your child has been self harming, especially if there were no warning signs. Are you currently concerned for her safety? It sounds like you are doing all you can to support your step daughter. They are lucky to have such a supportive and caring adult in their life. Your friend is right, it is important to look after yourself while supporting someone else.. but it can be easier said than done. Are there ways that you and your partner look after yourselves during this time? We have some information on self harm which you may find helpful to read as there are strategies and resources listed. If you ever need immediate support, we have a list of services here


Just so you are aware, we had to edit your post as we don't allow locations or details of self harm to be shared. If you are interested, you can have a read of our guidelines here

Casual scribe

Re: How do you help your teen deal with the stigma of Mental Illness?

There is more to this than stigma.

What else caused this girls suicidal depression?

Do you know what she goes through in her life?

Maybe talking to her would be the best place to start.

Encouraging her to be open about having been landed with a psych diagnosis and a psychiatric management team isn't the easiest thing to take on at age 14.

Give her time. And space.

How about encouraging her interests that help her feel happy about life? 


Has your child been checked by a health professional to rule out any physical causes?

Keeping dangerous items away from her will only help for so long. Anybody can get their hands on those implements easily. I hope you can help shift her focus away from harming herself by giving her ways to understand there is alot of hope and plenty of time to have everything she'd like in life. That this all will pass is an important point to get her to understand also. Being 14 can be a very scary time and emotional roller-coaster when hormones are going biserk inside us, you need to help her be aware it's not going to feel like this forever. Help her expand her focus. Take her to fun groups, go on health retreats, explore hobbies, just don't help her to be a suicidal depressed teenager by worrying about the fact she doesn't like talking about it.