BaeWatch: “My Parents Are Struggling With Mental Health But Won’t Go To Therapy. How Do I Help Them?”
As a child, I always use to imagine my parents as superheroes. I mean, every parent in the world is a superhero because they work extremely hard to provide everything their kids need – a roof over their head, food on their plate, clothes, love, and education. Even though parents share the responsibilities to raise their kids, there’s no doubt that parenthood is still a tough job. Dealing with all of the parental duties while juggling work without batting an eyelash is truly incredible. However, in this whole ‘parental duty’ situation, we often forget that they are like every other human being – imperfect and flawed. I’m not saying that they are bad human beings, I’m trying to say that they are normal individuals dealing with personal problems and issues and need guidance. But parents being parents, they will never admit it and asking for help from us is a BIG NO for them.
Our parents have grown up in a society where discussing mental health was considered a paap. Therefore, they will never accept the fact that they are going through a difficult time and need professional help which can affect their health negatively and convincing them can be difficult. So, when a reader wrote to us explaining her problem about how she was struggling to convince her parents that they need to go to therapy, Team Hauterrfly was quick to jump in to understand her problem. And they came up with some top-notch solutions to guide her.
“When I was a kid, I thought my parents were two perfect individuals who had their lives together. But lately, I have begun noticing that they are struggling with mental health problems and need professional help. But when I tried to talk to them about it, they said that it’s just normal work stress and refused to go to a therapist. You know how parents are na? They think therapy is just for people with ‘mental issues’. What should I do now? How should I convince them that they need to see someone?”
Here’s what Team Hauterrfly had to say:
“MORE FAMILY TIME”
Jinal Bhatt, Editor:
It’s going to require a lot of rebellion—back answering, stating difficult facts, or bringing up the topic again and again even when you’ve been told to not do it—and lots of patience. Because parents don’t like to “feel weak” or “incompetent” before their children. Not their fault; our culture treats parents as Gods who never falter. So how can you, puny human, stand before a God and tell them they need to take a chill pill? Sad but true.
Perhaps, start with asking them questions about their work life, in as non-intrusive a way as possible. It’s not an interrogation, but a friend asking another friend how their day at work was. Plan for more family time, like taking a trip or going for a day picnic, or even a movie night in. Sometimes that can loosen people up a bit. Another segué could be telling them how their mental health being down is affecting yours too, and how you’ve sought professional help, which now requires their participation. Then once on the couch, the expert can take over.
And finally, perhaps they need a friend, mentor, or confidante who they’re close to, to talk to them. Someone who they’re not afraid to look vulnerable before. If you can put them in touch, that would be the best way forward. But see if you can find someone who believes in seeking professional help for mental health and is not as dismissive of it as your folks.
Also Read: Baewatch: “My Boyfriend Confessed To Having Cheated On Me Once, Says It Was A Mistake. Should I Forgive Him? Take Him Back?”
“TALK TO A PSYCHOLOGIST OR A PSYCHIATRIST”
Janvi Manchanda, Senior Features Writer:
TBH, if I was in your place I would just give a therapist a heads-up and tell my parents that I am in therapy and they need to come with me for my mental health. And once they’re there, the therapist can evaluate them and if they actually do have problems maybe that’s when you can start convincing them to seek help. Now, that’s something crazy that I would do but that is not always the right way to do things. So, I’d recommend you begin by having more discussions and debates with your parents about mental health issues and care. You can also try sending them some literature with statistics to educate them a little more about these things. Another thing to do is to just speak to an adult in the family or extended family who you think might be able to convince your parents to seek help and if not that you can also try talking to a psychologist or a psychiatrist and learn how to navigate through this problem and help your parents. And if nothing works, I’d say make peace with it because there’s only so much one can do, plus you’re no expert so, it’s not really your place to say if your parents actually have a mental health problem or not. So, I’d recommend you speak to an expert before you do anything at all. Moreover, it is also important for you to accept the fact that nothing and no one is perfect in this world and we’ve all got something or the other gnawing at our souls.
“PROFESSIONAL GUIDANCE WILL HELP”
Jasveen Kaur Sawhney, Writer:
Well, I think that stands true for most of us. Right? I mean, while growing up, the thought of my parents being super sorted souls would refuse to leave my head, but as you grow old that well-painted perfect picture starts to fade away. I feel with not just parents but the idea of taking therapy remains a ‘No-No’ option for people of all ages. Call it the stereotypical brackets surrounding therapy, or log kya kahenge wali soch, this remains unchanged. I feel in your situation, you should explain to them the positive aspects of therapy and how getting professional guidance will help them clear out unwanted grey clouds in their head. Assure them that professional help is nothing but a way to lighten their stress and is totally confidential.
Also Read: Hautetalk: Budget 2022’s Boost To Mental Health Sector Can Benefit Women Who Suffered From COVID-19 Pandemic Induced Anxiety And Depression
“EDUCATE THEM ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH”
Preeti Singh, Writer:
You know, I have also realised that parents can be very stubborn at times. They think that we are naive human beings who don’t understand things and spend our money without thinking twice. But they don’t understand that mental health is equally important as physical health and we shouldn’t neglect it at any cost. You should try talking to them about their issues and once they open up, you can tell them about therapy. I mean try to educate them about mental health a little because they grew up in a society where the concept of mental health was non-existing. It will be very difficult to convince them but don’t lose hope, okay!
Baewatch is Hauterfly’s weekly service to women everywhere. We are giving no-holds-barred, funny, interesting answers to your relationship problems. We’re not experts so you may end up married or broken up. It could go either way. *shrugs*