Advice needed - How can I help my son?

Hi, I have joined this forum hoping to find some advice on how to best help my son. He is 20 years old and in the last couple of months has admitted that he is struggling. He won’t really talk to me, he was sent home from work by his boss as he admitted to her that he “couldn’t do it anymore”. He allowed me to make a docs appt and was referred to a private counsellor, who he has been talking to. The counselor then advised him to go to doctor for medication. It was at this point I discovered that he was having sucidal thoughts. He was put on Prozac, which he didn’t want to take, however he did take them and in his words, rather than fantasing about suicide, he then felt that suicide was a good option. He ran out of medication, told me the only reason he hadn’t killed himself was that the dog doesn’t have the mental capacity to understand. We had a very emotional talk and he told me he just doesn’t want to be here. That he is sick of being told he is I’ll, he is not ill, just doesn’t want to be here. He doesn’t want to"get better" he just wants to die. I persuaded him to try a second medication, which he stopped quite quickly as it made him foggy. After another emotional conversation he agreed to go back to doctor. I took him and doctor called me in halfway through. My son basically was saying he didn’t want to take anything and didn’t want to talk to anyone. At this point doctor said if he wouldn’t agree to talk to psychiatrist then he would have no choice but to have him committed as he was presenting with mental illness and refusing to engage. My son agreed to speak to someone. We left and he was absolutely furious. Asserting that there is nothing wrong with him. He won’t talk to me about it. We are waiting for call from mental health services.
He is working from home, office work in financial services, and as far as I can tell seems to be doing his work as normal. He goes out with friends and seems to be “fine” on the surface.
How can I help him? Should I try and force him to face the fact that he has an illness, or just carry on as normal and let the mental health team help him? It is heartbreaking to see him when he does allow me in, he just sobs, but won’t let me comfort him.
How do I deal with the not wanting to “get better” is this normal with depression?
Thanks for reading and for any advice you may have.

Hi Tam,
Welcome to forum.

What a worrying situation for you. I don’t think your son is alone in not wanting to admit he has a mental illness.

It is positive that he is maintaining some routine in his life and still working and meeting friends.

I hope the MH team are in contact very soon.

I don’t have experience of supporting someone with MH needs but others on here do, hopefully they will be along soon.

In the meantime, you might find these websites useful


Unfortunately the hardest people to help are those who believe they don’t have a problem. And the worst of it is that there’s no way to make them see it. It’s a journey they have to take themselves and to be honest if I’d been the GP I would probably have gone down the sectioning route there and then as whatever your son told him after he made that (what to your son was a) threat would not be trustworthy. But that’s me - an old cynic. And his not wanting to get better is simply a way of pointing out there’s nothing to get better from.

What he’s doing now is almost certainly what can best be described as “fronting”, to show you there’s no problem. Why - well there are a few possible reasons, none of them especially wonderful. Best thing you can do is to keep a close eye - but let the GP know what he’s doing and that you’re certain he’s only ok on the surface. I think the GP needs to know and may even try to push things along a bit.

Dear Tam_2201
Hi i am Kristie and i am an online community host for the Carers UK forum. I am sorry to hear about the problems you have with your son and i hope fellow carers can help you. I do think that like a carer has suggested that you have contact with Mind. They are brilliant at helping people and the carer has given you the information on how to contact Mind.
So welcome to the forum! You are not alone in your caring role as i am sure that many on here will understand exactly how you feel and offer you support. Caring can be very lonely and the pandemic has made caring responsibilities challenging as many carers have been socially restricted and unable to attend social groups etc.-
Carers UK are running two online weekly meet ups for carers and you can find the information on how to register at Care For A Cuppa:- meetups. The second online weekly meet ups is called Share And Learn:-Share and Learn | Carers UK.
Here is our telephone number at Carers UK 0808 808 7777. The line is open from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am-6pm. Our email address is (
The advisers provide information and guidance to unpaid carers. This covers:-
-Benefits And Financial Support
-Your Rights As A Carer In The Workplace
-Carers Assessments And How To Get Support In Your Caring Role
-Services Available To Carers And The People You Care For
-How To Complain Effectively And Challenge Decisions
Best Wishes

Thanks very much for your responses, I will check out the resources you have provided.
The thought of him being sectioned breaks my heart as I know he would be absolutely furious at the removal of his autonomy. Obviously if it is the only option to keep him alive then I wouldn’t fight it, but it is definitely a last resort in my mind.
Thanks again all :blush:

I hope things improve for both of you soon.

Tam - You sound like a kind and caring mum and it’s a good sign that your son tells you how he feels. It’s also encouraging that he is still working and has friends.
It’s important that you don’t put him under any pressure - so don’t ask him or expect him to do any chores or anything. He needs to feel that he is in control of his daily activities.
Plus check that he is coping with finances and that he is eating and sleeping OK.
Coping with someone with mental health problems can be emotional draining so it might help you to tell family what you’re going through.