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6 Reasons Why Your Depressed Adult Child Resists Helping Themselves

depressed adult child

Kim Muench, Becoming Me Thought Leader

Help! My 23-year-old daughter failed out of her senior year of college.

On top of that, she has been home for over a year not going anywhere or doing much of anything, keeping odd hours, smoking marijuana daily and the worst part is she refuses to get any kind of help for her depression. I’m at my wit’s end, please help me understand why she’s so resistant to getting help! 

6 Reasons Why Your Depressed Adult Child Resists Help:

In a world increasingly attuned to the importance of mental health, seeking help for psychological issues seems like a natural and encouraged step towards self-care and well-being. However, for emerging adults – individuals typically aged 18 to 25 navigating the transition from adolescence to full-fledged adulthood – the decision to seek mental health support isn’t always straightforward. The stigma around getting help has certainly decreased over the past decade (even more so since 2020) however, many emerging adults find themselves in a personal struggle that hinders their willingness to seek the help they may desperately need.

“Many emerging adults prefer to maintain the facade of having everything under control, even if internally they are struggling.”

Here are a few reasons why your adult depressed child may be resisting efforts to help themselves: 

1. Stigma and Shame:

Despite progress in challenging mental health stigma, emerging adults may fear judgment or discrimination from their peers, family members, or even themselves. Admitting to struggling with mental health issues can feel like an admission of weakness or failure, leading to feelings of shame and inadequacy.

2. Independence and Autonomy:

The emerging adult years are characterized by a quest for independence and autonomy. Going to a counselor or psychiatrist may be perceived as a threat to this autonomy, signaling a reliance on others for support or guidance. Many emerging adults prefer to maintain the facade of having everything under control, even if internally they are struggling.

3. Misconceptions About Therapy:

There are a lot of misconceptions about therapy and other mental health treatment, especially for someone who hasn’t experienced it first hand or has heard negative comments about it from friends. Some young people view therapy as a last resort for “crazy” or “broken” people, rather than a valuable tool for personal growth and self-discovery. Without accurate information about the benefits of therapy, emerging adults may be hesitant to give it a try.

4. Not Getting Help Because of Fear of Change:

Opening up about one’s innermost thoughts and emotions can be a daunting prospect, especially when it might lead to significant life changes or challenges to deeply held beliefs. Emerging adults may fear the uncertainty that comes with addressing their mental health issues, preferring to cling to familiar patterns and routines, even if they are ultimately hurting their well-being.

“Access to mental health care can be a significant barrier for emerging adults..”


5. Financial Constraints:

Access to mental health care can be a significant barrier for emerging adults, particularly those without adequate insurance coverage or financial resources. The cost of therapy sessions, medication, or other forms of treatment may simply be out of budget for your depressed adult child even if they recognize a need for getting help. 

6. Cultural Barriers:

Cultural factors can play a significant role in shaping attitudes towards mental health and help-seeking behavior. In some cultures, mental illness is stigmatized or misunderstood, leading young adults to suppress their symptoms rather than seek professional help. Cultural norms surrounding masculinity, femininity, and emotional expression can also influence how emerging adults perceive and address their mental health.

As someone who has experienced similar issues with some of the emerging adults in my family, I want to say keep trying, and model the kind of mental health and self-care you want her to attain.

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Kim Muench Becoming Me

About the Author:

Kim Muench (pronounced minch, like pinch with an “m”) is a Jai (rhymes with buy) Institute for Parenting Certified Conscious Parenting Coach who specializes in working with mothers of adolescents (ages 10+). Knowing moms are the emotional barometer in their families, Kim is passionate about educating, supporting and encouraging her clients to raise their children with intention and guidance rather than fear and control. Kim’s three plus decades parenting five children and years of coaching other parents empowers her to lead her clients into healthier, happier, more functional relationships with compassion and without judgment. 

You can find out more about her mission and services at www.reallifeparentguide.com. She is on Facebook at Real Life Parent Guide, Instagram, and on LinkedIn as well.