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Twenty one year old son lonely and unwilling to make changes

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Twenty one year old son lonely and unwilling to make changes

Casual scribe

Twenty one year old son lonely and unwilling to make changes

Hi there,
I heard about reach out when searching beyondblue for ideas. Hubby and I feel like there is no one who can help us help our twenty one year old son. He is lonely, angry and unwilling to seek or accept help. He is underweight, has sleeping problems and rarely emerges from his room. We are trying to get him to increase his driving hours (he has almost enough to be tested); have purchased him a second hand car. We want him to see a GP to get help for his sleeping problem but he refuses to do this. He claims ALL online mental health services “work from a script” and don’t care about callers. His level of skepticism and criticism of any mental health service provider is boundless. Yesterday, he had a meltdown about his weight; loneliness; isolation; inability to sleep and punched a hole in a wall.( not for the first time.) We are so desperate and powerless to help him. We have told him we love him and want him to find happiness but that this needs to come from within. We cannot help feeling that this will end with him taking his own life. I don’t know what anyone can say but writing it down here has kind of lightened the load for a moment.
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Re: Twenty one year old son lonely and unwilling to make changes

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Hi @Gwinny , 


Welcome to the parent's community - it sounds like such a difficult situation for you as parents, and it must be incredibly tough to see your son suffering. From the sounds of things, it sounds like it could be a really good idea for your son to have a thorough check up with a GP,  to rule out any physical causes of his sleep problems and weight - has he always been underweight, or is this something that has happened more recently? I can hear that he's really resistant to seeing a health care professional, but  do you think he would be open to getting a 'once over'? 


You say that he's spending a lot of time in his room, I'm just wondering if your son is working or studying at the moment? Are there any other activities, like gaming, that he enjoys? 


Another option if your son isn't keen on professional mental health assistance is some form of peer support - this can often help people feel much less isolated and alone, and sharing experiences can give people the courage to take the next step and seek professional help. ReachOut have youth forms for peer support that can be accessed here  


There are also peer support phone lines where you can speak one to one with someone with lived experience of mental health issues in a safe and non-judgemental way, such as the BeingSupported  service.


It can be really tough on families when a loved one isn't doing so well, and as a parent myself I can imagine it must be an incredibly helpless feeling - but you are right when you say that ultimately your son needs to take those steps. It can be really helpful for families to get support for themselves, do you and your husband have anyone who's helping to support you through this time? It's great to hear that it has lightened the load a bit for you opening up here - this is a really supportive community, and you don't have to go through this alone. 






Re: Twenty one year old son lonely and unwilling to make changes

Hi, sounds pretty terrible but also familiar.

We have a 20 yo son Lachlan, who is also underweight, eats little, says little and rarely leaves his room. He is also trying to increase his driving hours. We have tried a lot of professionals such as counsellors, psychiatrists but no luck.

I am no expert but I can see a lot of positives in your story. That he says mental heath experts are working from a script and don’t care shows to me that he is thinking well and is probably half right (they do care). That he shows frustration, in my view shows he is not happy with his situation and is looking for a way to progress. Probably you and your husband can not help much but maybe others such as family or friends can help:

With his weight, being skinny to me shows that his body is operating in a very healthy way and a lot of people would love to be skinnier. Does your son run or cycle?

With the whole set harm thing, we went though this (just talk) and in my view, it is best to shut this down and discuss as little as possible.

It is very hard with boys or young men at this age since they cannot be told but also sometimes go off track. Our son has a Gaming problem (fortnite mainly).

Super frequent scribe

Re: Twenty one year old son lonely and unwilling to make changes

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Hi @fdixon 


Thanks for showing support and sharing what's going on for you. Also, welcome to ReachOut. I have had to edit out your contact details as it is against the following guideline of ours:


- Never reveal any personal details of your own or others: stay anonymous (this includes email addresses and links to social media pages like Facebook, Youtube, tumblr etc)


For more information on our guidelines, see here.