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Mum with depression- how to help her?

Community Member


I have just joined this site. My mum has been suffering from depression for the last few years. Initially, she put off treating it, as she was caring for my sick grandma. My Aunty (mum's sister) passed away suddenly, shortly after nana's death and my mum's depression seems to have gotten even worse. It was a struggle to get my mum to see the GP, but eventually, she went and was prescribed a bunch of medications and sleeping tablets. She went to see a psychologist one time but decided that it was not useful. She is experiencing insomnia, severe depression (suicidality, loss of interest in everything, rarely leaves the house, cries whenever I speak to her on the phone, etc.). My mum lives 2 hours from me. I am finishing uni at the moment. I do not have a car, so I see mum around once a month. Nothing seems to be improving for her- her thoughts and conversation are very dark, she has become very critical and mistrustful of people. My dad lives with mum and he has been helping her, but he is not the most emotionally understanding person and hates going to the doctors himself. I love my mum soooo much and just want her to feel better. I am unsure what to do at this point- do I try to force her to seek treatment? Try to change the subject and get her out of the house as much as possible? Accept that she might not be ready to accept help? I have tried sending her info about doctors, psychologists, naturopaths that I've found but she ignores them. I tried an intervention with my father and I- saying "come on let's be proactive about this and get it sorted out because you can still have many happy years ahead of you", I take her out for lunch and for walks when I visit and she seems like she enjoys it but then afterwards she tells me that she was faking being happy and that she never feels happy. We have long conversations and I listen to her, but sometimes the conversations become very dark and I try to steer her back into the light. It sounds horrible but I often feel like kidnapping her and taking her to a hospital for treatment- obviously, I wouldn't do that, but depression seems to make people their own worst enemies. I have anxiety and have experienced minor episodes of depression, but nothing like what my mum is going through. I hate seeing her so unhappy. I don't want to imagine her ending her life, but believe that in the state that she's in, it's a possibility. I really just want to find a way for her to feel better. What suggestions do u have for me?

4 Replies 4

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hello Jess and a warm welcome.

I am pleased you found your way to the Beyond Blue forums. The community is caring, friendly, supportive and non judgemental.

There has been a lot of sad things happening for your mum in recent months. My thoughts go out to both you and her during this painful time. Grieving has a number of phases that occur, not necessarily in order, or in a set time frame. These include - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. She will be experiencing each of these for each loss. Having a few deaths one on top of the other will compound one's depression I'm sure.

Some good things you've said - she has been to the doctor and has medication. That is good news. It would be good if you could try to convince her to see another psychologist if she things the first one didn't help.One of the biggest things though with seeing a psychologist is - they do open up some things that one trys to keep hidden. Since your mum's depression seems to have worsened, it could because there are things she is trying to deal with, as well as the grieving. It really is hard to know. I'm not a health professional, I'm just sharing my experience.

Does your mum have a close trusted friend she could talk to? It is important she talks. You can listen when you can, though you shouldn't feel responsible for trying to solve her issues or give her solutions. Just you being there, listening, holding her hand and giving her your love may help. Even if it is infrequently. Phone calls are also good.

That is another option to try to get your mum to do and that is phone someone when she's really down. There are a few support services out there including:

Beyond Blue support serivce 1300 224 636

Lifeline 13 11 14

Hope this helps Jess. It's good you've reached out here for support, feel free to continue doing so.

Kind regards


Hi Jess,
I'm sorry to hear about your mum, it must be hard. Make sure you look after yourself as well.

I'm going through something similar with my Mum. She had a breakdown a few months ago and I tried supporting her similar to you. I gave her advice and helplines to call but she didn't. She said she wasn't strong enough. She did end up going to see a doctor because she said her thoughts were scaring her. The doctor booked her in to see a psychologist but mum was hesident to go to I need to check in with her. I find she doesn't tell me everything that's going on becuse she doesn't want me to worry.
I had mental health training at work a couple of months ago and the teacher said that when supporting someone with a mental illness you must make sure the oars are always in their hands. They must feel like they have lost control over their life so that is why that's important. I don't think I'm explaining this well!
I also have a sister with a physical illness who I'm trying to encourage to get help because my Dad has been abusive (reason for mum's breakdown) but she is very reluctant. It's hard to help someone who doesn't want help.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Jess,

PamelaR has pretty much covered most of what you may need to do, so I am basically confirming this. I may suggest try explaining to her that a psychologist might not seem to help BUT it is someone still willing to listen to her, someone she can get it all off her chest to, so even if it doesnt work as she hopes, it will at least give her relief that she has it out of her system.

Thats about all I can add, except I think your second option where you say "? Try to change the subject and get her out of the house as much as possible?" maybe a good option, I know later you say you tried that and she claims it was a false happiness, but I suggest just keep trying that, it may help her get her mind back on track, and it most definitely wont hurt (of course when you can), maybe talk your dad into doing the same for her, taking her out for dinner and things like that. I suggest this because at very least, she will know her family cares, and will show her that she is important, not only to you and her husband, but also to herself.

Hope things get better


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Jess

I've been in a similar situation to you and am happy to share my thoughts and also provide you with some support as I know it's really hard. I have only just seen your post so I'm not sure if you are still checking the responses?