The mum says that she has struggled with depressive episodes and is being to recognise similar behaviour in her son…

A mum has taken to Reddit to share her concern about her twelve-year-old son who has started to show signs of being depressed. The mum says she recently realised that she had been depressed for a number of years and is beginning to notice that her son is behaving in a similar way.

Something More Serious

The mum says she began to notice something was wrong when her son lost interest in his after-school activities. “He has been sleeping a lot more lately often not even being able to get up to go to school,” she wrote.

“I get that some of this is probably in part due to his hormones…but I would like to get him checked as I have severe depression and anxiety.”

After they separated, the mum says her son’s father isn’t really in the picture but has recently offered her son the option of going to live with him if it would give him a fresh start. “He’s usually very open with me about things he’s going through but suddenly he’s very closed off,” she said.

“I’ve tried talking to him. I don’t interrogate. I chill with him and I tell him things I’ve gone through and ask if he can relate.”

Despite her best efforts, the mum admits she is worried that her son feels he is alone.

A Sensitive Issue

As a result of her own diagnosis experience being so horrible, the mum says she wants to avoid forcing her son to get help. “One of the worst experiences of my life was being forced to the doctor to be tested for it,” she said.

“How do I ease him into the conversation and get him to agree to get checked out?”

Responses to the mum’s post highlighted the importance of getting help early.

“You wouldn’t allow your child to miss a dentist appointment if he had a toothache,” one commenter said.

“Mental health checks are just as important as physical health checks.”

With greater awareness around mental health issues, it’s important to get support for your child when they need it and take action sooner rather than later. No one should have to suffer in silence.

For further support and information visit Kids Helpline.

Has your child struggled with mental health? Did you access support for them? Share your story in the comments.

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  • I suffer with manic depression and noticed a few things with my son. He would be in bed asleep by 9 at night, get up at 11 the next morning, have something for breakfast then by 1pm he’d be asleep again. I spoke to my doctor and he said just to take him in. I felt awful but I told my son he needed to see the doctor for his flu needle. While he was there the doctor got him talking and needless to say he’s now on medication. It’s made all the difference in the world. He’s realised that if he misses a dose he’s got no energy the next day. It’s worth a try to get him to the doctor’s for his own sake.


  • It is better to talk with GP about this.


  • It could be any number of things. Maybe he’s being bullied. I wouldn’t just let this lie though. Discuss it with your GP and your son’s school to see if there’s anything going on before jumping straight to depression.


  • That is a really tricky situation. I would speak to a GP about how best to approach it.


  • As someone who suffers depression and anxiety from a young age I wish someone noticed earlier before it turned into something worse. I would talk to him about taking him to talk to a doctor for a standard mental health check up and go from there. Maybe even make an appointment with the school counsellor for mum to talk to them and see if they can make a plan


  • I’m a mum of two teen special needs daughters and they get depression too, I had an art therapist work with our daughter it took her 3 years to start openly talking to her but it was worth it as she will let us know more now she’s 16 now and we’re trying to get a new one. Find a male therapist that comes to your home, having someone come to him could be key and art isn’t what it used to be, graphic art with therapy is great for teens just remember the most important thing is that he knows no matter what he can come to you if he needs and wants help, just remember you are awesome, you care he’s lucky to have a parent like you keep trying mum you’re doing great by acknowledging his condition.


  • As a mum I am worried about it


  • As a mother, I’m always trying to do what’s best for my kids, and sometimes we all get it wrong, just continue showing him your there for him.


  • As a mum I think you need to do everything in your power to protect your kids and help them in whatever way they need you to. I think she needs to get her son the help he needs so badly


  • Definitely get him checked – I think raise it as a medical issue.


  • Its a horrible thing to deal with and these days with teen suicide rates as they are its something that needs to be taken seriously and extra light put on it


  • As someone who has struggled with depression and anxiety (among other things) for most of my life, I worry too when my son shows signs or is down. If it continues for more than a day I get more worried. I just make sure to keep trying to be there and get to the root of the problem, though it has been harder as he’s gotten older and not wanting to talk so much. It is heartbreaking even thinking that your child/ren could feel such pain inside, especially when you know the pain yourself.


  • Is there another guy your son would confide in. It could be a grandparent, uncle or another guy who can get him talking about things in general then lead to what the issue might be. Your son may discuss issues with somebody besides his parents, I know a boy who will talk to his Grandpa but not his Dad or Mum. He may dislike a teacher for some reason, not be able to cope with one particular subject and possibly be able to swap to a different class that does a different subject instead of that one. (I did that and changed a subject). Has he changed schools at all?


  • I would be seeing a professional without him to get their opinion on the best approach.


  • I hope this mum is getting the professional help her son might need. I haven’t experienced and, diagnosed, mental health issues. My daughter has a bit of anxiety from events that occurred as an adult. My sister in law had her son on medication at age 10 for mental health issues. I think a lot of his issues were projected from his mum, I don’t think he needed medication. Now he’s 31, never lived out of home, never worked, never had a girlfriend and uses his mum for all he can get.


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