Advice needed on teenage depression

My son has just started university and is living away from home. I read a twitter post he made that he thinks he has had mental health issues for the last couple of years and it may be depression. I was a little shocked since he hadn't said anything and we talk about everything, or so I thought. I don't want to rush in and try to fix it in case I make it worse but I do want to help if I can. Does anyone have any ideas or advice?

BTW we follow each other on twitter so he knows I see his posts so its possible this was his way of telling me.

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  • Morning

    My daughter went to uni and she seem to feel the same she was around 5. Hours drive away she is in her last year now think she was lonely as did not have alot of family around but I kept in touch and she sooner made friends encourage him to go out and make friends as I found once my daughter was in a house they all looked after each other so stay strong keep in touch and go and see him on regular basis and I am sure all will be fine

    Pat

  • Thanks Pat. We talk on the phone most days and he's coming home for the weekend so I hope he knows I'm there if he needs me. Did you raise the issue with your daughter or let her work it out knowing you were there? I just don't know whether to say anything or to let him come to me.

  • Just kept eye on things I did talk to her friends when I got to know them and they were very supportive l did ask her if she was ok often but did not push to hard she new I was there so just make sure your son knows that which I can tell you are and just stay positive he will be fine

  • If I can help with anymore advise please ask

  • Thanks again!

  • I think you should speak to him about this. He's put it on twitter knowing that you follow him so he's ok with you knowing. He's started the communication that way, probably because it's easier than face to face. He may still find it difficult to start a conversation with you face to face. Depression can make you think the worst about why someone does something so ignoring it until he comes to you might not be a good idea. If you don't say anything he may think you're dismissing his concerns or ashamed of him having a mental illness. I think you should try to treat it as any other illness. If he said he'd had a bad chest infection you might ask how he's feeling now and if he saw a doctor and needed any treatment. You don't need to talk in detail initially, I'm sure just something brief to let him know that he can talk to you about this if he wants to will help.

  • Thank you. I think you're right and I'm not sure I could leave it now that I know anyway if I'm honest. He's coming home this weekend so I'll find a way to raise it then.

  • The university health service will have expertise with this and it is probably appropriate to contact them if his problems have been going on that long and particularly if they are affecting his life.

    Make sure you ask about suicidal thoughts, suicidal plans as if present professional help will be urgently required.

  • Thank you for this. He's due home this week so I think I'll try to steer the conversation around and take it from there but I will definitely get in touch with the university if needed.

    Take care x

  • It's best if he takes on responsibility for his care with the university so that he can feel he is in control.

  • Hi,

    You've been given some good advice here. I'm not a parent, so I don't know if my opinion is valid, but I have been to university.

    Is he in his first year? I'm asking because it is quite early into the academic year and is the time when first years find it the most difficult. They are away from home, don't have a support system yet, have to cope with surviving on their own.

    I can offer advice if this is his first year.

    Lori

    Xxx

  • Yes, he's in his first year and this is week 6 or 7. I'd appreciate your perspective if you feel comfortable sharing it.

    Thank you.

    Janey

  • I think at this stage in his experience there will be a sink or swim moment.

    I was told to get a door stopper and keep my door open so that I could say hi to people who lived with me. This worked wonders for me.

    I found it really hard the first time that I came home, because I suddenly didn't feel like I belonged there anymore. I felt a bit like I was looking behind the curtain of a magic show. My parents had grown used to me not being there, and I realised their world didn't revolve around me. I felt like a visitor, and my home town suddenly felt really small.

    I tried to only go home during the holidays so that I didn't get home sick, and so that I could develop relationships with people I lived with. If he isn't making friends yet, he should definitely join a club. I used to be quite outgoing, so making friends wasn't too much of a problem, but learning about setting up boundaries was.

    I'd give him the chance to sink or swim too at home. Let him bring it up if he wants to. You know your son, he might have been using it as a way to reach out, or he might have forgotten you can see it. He won't have typed those words without putting thought in to it. But you never know, he might be wanting support from his peers.

    Lori

    Xxx

  • Hi Lori

    Thanks for sharing this and I like your suggestions. I'm hoping to encourage my son to join a club or 2 so that he gets out a bit and makes friends and joins in a bit more.

    Cheers

    Janey

    x

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