PBS Kids GO! It's My Life
Depression: Asking For Help

Here's a big reason why many people never ask for help with their chronic depression: they don't know that they're depressed!

That's why it's important to take a hard look at how you've been feeling and acting, and then take a look at the lists in Signs and Symptoms and Manic Depression. If the things you've been thinking, feeling, and doing seem to add up to these descriptions of major depression or manic depression, the first step is to admit to yourself that you have a problem.

Remember that admitting that you're depressed is not like admitting that you're weak, because depression is not weakness. Sometimes, just acknowledging that you don't feel good can be a great release. It means you're ready for the next step, and ready to feel better.

Many people never ask for help because they're embarrassed about what they're going through. Of course, one of the symptoms of clinical depression is wanting to be left alone, which is another reason why asking for help can be so difficult. It's normal to feel this way, but also important to set aside these feelings.

Start with a parent or guardian-
Ask him or her to sit down with you where it's quiet, and when you have some time to talk things over slowly and seriously. Explain the emotions you've been feeling and that you want to do what it takes to get better. Hopefully, your parent will understand right away that your depression is real, serious, and needs to be treated immediately. Talk about who you'd be comfortable going to for professional help.

If that fails --
If your parent or guardian doesn't understand how serious your situation is, or he or she doesn't seem to know very much about clinical depression, do NOT stop looking for help! Visit your school counselor or social worker, or even the family doctor - this is what they are there for - for an honest talk about what's going on.

And if THAT fails-
Hopefully you won't get to this point, but if you need to, try these 24-hour, totally confidential telephone hotlines:

Covenant House Nineline
1-800-999-9999
English and Spanish

Boys and Girls Town Hotline
1-800-448-3000
English and Spanish

National Hopeline Network
1-800-784-2433
English and Spanish

If you want your family to learn more about clinical depression, you might ask them to read through this IML section with you.

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