Ask Sam letter


To Sam

Talking to parents

Hi Sam,
This is the first time I have ever wrote to childline and I am actually quite nervous...
I really need some advise on how to talk to my mum about how I feel although she has depression which makes things really hard at home. I have been feeling really sad and hopeless for quite a long time now and have been self harming since I was in year 8. I have been speaking to my student support worker about it...but he wants to refer me for proper counselling. This I'm not to fussed about, what I am worried about is how I'm going to talk to my mum about it. I have never(and I mean never)talked to her about my feelings or even the fact that I talk to the student support worker. I just think that's it's time she knew because if I agree to see a counsellor then she/he will have to tell my mum anyway! I am really worried about telling her because as I said before she has depression so she gets really upset about stuff a lot but also we have been having a money problems and stuff like that so I don't want to worry her more...she will think that she made me feel this way and I don't want that!
Do you have any advice on how I could even start to tell her without upsetting her?
Thanks a lot :)
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter. It’s understandable that you were nervous writing in for the first time, but I’m really pleased that you found the courage to get in touch.

It’s really positive that you’ve been able to speak to your student support worker and that you might see a counsellor. You mentioned that you have been self-harming and it sounds like that might have been a way to cope with the difficult feelings you described. We have some useful information about self-harm and some ideas for safer ways to cope that you might want to try out. You might also want to look at the message boards where other young people share their experiences and offer each other support.

I can hear that the thought of your mum knowing about how you feel is scary and that you don’t want to upset her. It can actually be okay if those who we’re close get upset when they hear that we’re struggling, as this can be part of how people show they care. It’s really thoughtful of you not to want to worry your mum, but actually most parents worry about their children for lots of reasons.

You mentioned that if you see the counsellor they will have to tell your mum anyway. So having a plan and thinking about how to tell your mum in advance is a really good idea. You might want to make some notes of the things that you would like to say, so that you have something to help you if you’re feeling nervous when you talk to her. You could even write her a letter or an email if saying it face to face feels too hard.

Another option would be to have someone there supporting you when you talk to your mum. This could be a close friend, your student support worker, or another adult that you trust, like a family member or teacher. Check out some more tips on how to talk to someone.

If you’d like to talk this through some more you could get in touch with a ChildLine counsellor. You could do this by logging in for a 1-2-1 chat or by phoning for free on 0800 1111.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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