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Senior Contributor

helping a young person to seek treatment

hello all,

my young nephew is only 19 and is suffering from depression. I am middle-aged and have suffered from chronic mental illness since I was about 16 so I am keen that he seek early intervention so that MI does not become a part of his life in the long term. He seems resistent. His parents have left it up to him to seek treatment but he has done nothing to that goal in months, I have offered to contact him to encourage him. Any tips for how to encourage him to seek treatment?


Re: helping a young person to seek treatment

Hey there @BryanaCamp well done on taking this first step for your nephew. I think it's pretty amazing that you want to engage preventatively before things get dire, and with your own lived experience I can understand your concerns. Sometimes with young people there can be a fear of engaging face to face, I have noticed a theme with adolescent's that phone and face to face support can be a lot more daunting than previous generations. There are a few services he could check out initially as a base. Kids Helpline are really good with his age range, they work right up to 25 and have webchat here. The ReachOut forums are another incredible peer support space here and of course EHeadspace.

How is your own mental health whilst supporting him? Do you get time for any self care?


Re: helping a young person to seek treatment

Hi @BryanaCamp
Something i would suggest to encourage him to gather some information such as signs of depression and anxiety and resources for young people such as kidshelpline and headspace where he can seek help and support in his own way as they offer counselling in various ways too.
He may be feeling a little embarrassed ao may be nervous about taking that next step. Another possiblilty is that he doesnt see what is happening to him as a problem as its become his 'normal'

As a young person with mh issues myself its great that he has yours and families support but if he is like myself i was very nervous to seek help and i needed to do it at my own pace which started off with contacting khl for a while before even going to a mh professional or a gp. I also was one who thought what was happening for me was a normal thing to go through so it wasnt until i read about some information that i realised it wasnt.

I would put it in a large envelope like the a4 onea with the info in it and just leave it in hia room. The curiosity will compell him to look when he is ready.

Good luck! Hope this helps somewhat..

Re: helping a young person to seek treatment

thank you @outlander and @nashy for your replies, I will take them on board. I'm glad I was on the right track @outlander, I have started compiling an envelope of resources about MI and youth services for him to take a look at. It sounds like it will take some patience which isn't my strong suit but I will try my best.

It looks like he isn't available to meet me till next week so I'll let you know how things progress.

Thanks again.


Re: helping a young person to seek treatment

hi @outlander and @nashy 

I met with my nephew & gave him the resources, we agreed to meet in a couple of weeks and check in with that.


But now the 2 weeks is up & he's done nothing & is now ignoring my messages so we can't meet again. I'm very, very frustrated and all out of patience. I don't know what else to do, the longer he goes on without any treatment the more entrenched any mental illness will become. I just don't feel that I can get through to him.


The last thing I want to do is express anger to him but every time I think of it I get frustrated.


Re: helping a young person to seek treatment


"Loss of insight" is where a patient cannot tell that they are unwell. As your nephew is an adult, without appropriate permission, his parents cannot be kept in the loop regarding his medical treatment. They can notify his GP of symptoms, but this would be a one way conversation and/or if your nephew becomes suicidal or a danger can call for intervention under the mental health act.  


As carers, we can only support and encourage our loved ones but at the end of the day one can only lead a horse to water ....


Re: helping a young person to seek treatment

Hi BryanaCamp,

It’s frustrating watching someone suffer and not being able to help. Been there! I can also relate to your nephew as I was once a 19 year old rejecting the advice of a concerned family member, and I did this for two reasons. First, we weren’t that close and I wasn’t comfortable spilling my guts. Second, they were quick to go into fixing mode by telling me what the issue was and what to do about it. I just wanted someone to listen, understand and be there for me. 


The above is just my personal experience but I hope it helps. This is also a really good resource:


Re: helping a young person to seek treatment

hello @BryanaCamp Heart

how is you nephew going ?

Hello @_petal , @Darcy , @outlander 


Re: helping a young person to seek treatment

hello @Shaz51 Heart

thinking of you @BryanaCamp hoping things arent to rough on you Heart

Re: helping a young person to seek treatment

thank you @outlander it's so sweet of you, thanks @Shaz51 


I don't know how my nephew is, he ignores my texts & I haven't seen him for a few weeks. He may be feeeling better with nicer flatmates & a new year of uni underway now. I don't know.


My MI has been pretty bad lately, I've been thru a rough patch. Plus I'm supporting my brother overseas where he's recently got out of hospital with psychosis. I don't really feel strong enough to try to help my nephew as I'm struggling with my own MI atm. I'm adjusting my meds to help with that but it takes a while for it too take effect.


thanks again for your support Heart

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