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To Sam

Problems with school and family

I have been having trouble going to school for almost a year now because I have been going in and out of depression, a few months ago my mum moved me from my dads( which u didn't want to do) and she enrolled me into a school near her, I have missed the majority of school days here because I'm to afraid to go, but I don't know what I'm afraid of, and the only way I can see myself getting the confidence to go to school again is by moving back in with my dad, however, my mum won't let me. (I am 14 in a couple months) I'm not sure what to do, should I force mum to let me move back or should I stay?
Ask Sam


Hi there,

Thanks for your letter and for telling me how frightening it is for you to go to your new school now that you’ve moved in with your mum. I can hear that you’ve been living with depression for a year and it sounds like that has affected your life in a few ways.

I’m not quite sure what it is about school that scares you, but the fear has meant that you haven’t been attending much. I wonder how other people at school have treated you, what the teachers are like and how the lessons have gone. There are lots of different things that can affect how someone feels about school.

Also, the thing about change is that it usually means that you’ve lost something. In this case, you lost your old school and the friends, teachers and lessons that went with it. Losing something or someone really important can be really tough. It’s a sort of grief.

Have you had any support with the depression you’ve experienced? If not, you could always talk to your doctor about it. Depression is something that doctors should always take seriously. They will often make a referral to the Children and Adolescents’ Mental Health Service. These are the people who give mental health support for young people and may be able to help you. First you could have a read of our page on depression or watch our video about feeling depressed or sad.

I can hear that you’d really like me to give you an answer about whether you should stay with your mum or force her to let you go back to your dad. But that’s a decision only you can make – you know this situation better than me. However I am wondering whether forcing your mum is an option and whether you’d be able to make her do that.

Sometimes it can help to tell a trusted adult how you’re feeling. If your new school were aware that you were afraid to go, they might be able to help you settle in better. How would you feel about talking it through with a ChildLine counsellor? It could be on the phone or in a 1-2-1 chat. They could support you with your depression and help you explore what your fear of school is about. This could really help you decide what you’d like to do next.

Also, there are the ChildLine message boards with a thread about school. Maybe you could ask other young people for their opinion too.

Take care and good luck with whatever you decide to do,


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