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Adult Daughter won’t see a GP for Mental Health Issues

Community Member
My daughter is 23yrs old and will not see a GP for mental health issues. My husband and I have noticed severe mood swings and very low feelings and hopelessness. She has been to several professionals in the past when she was younger however it stopped as she didn’t feel the need to continue and was taking medication for BPD and ADHD for a few months when she was younger, a visit to the psychiatrist when she was 17 and she told them medications weren’t working and they told her to come back when she is an adult so she could get properly diagnosed. It’s so painful to see her go through so much emotional pain and we are so concerned for her well being and safety as in the past she has self harmed and we are trying to do everything we can to prevent her from hurting herself. She is living with her partner and he is going through depression and tries his best to support her however it has been escalating to a point when she has anger outbursts and starts to break stuff around her and screaming hysterically, she opened up to me and told me this and I was very proud of her because it must have been hard telling me this and she said she cant go on like this and is scared but she doesn’t want to be on medication and see heaps of doctors. I stayed strong and thanked her for opening up to me and told her when she felt that anger coming up in her to call me and she said I don’t want to talk about it, so I said now that you told me you don’t want to talk about it I understand and want you to call me or text me to come pick you up and we can go get a coffee and just go for a drive with me asking no questions. She was comfortable with that and called me 4 days ago to be picked up, we drove and spent 7 hours togather. I didn’t mind dropping her home at 1am in the morning because I could see she was worked up and for her to call me was a very brave step for her and I will continue to support her in every way I can ti help her from doing harm to herself and others around her. I have my boundaries and have taken steps to self care for myself so I can be there my daughter but now I am stuck and don’t know how to bring up the conversation with her about taking steps to book in to see a doctor 😢
6 Replies 6

Hi Charleigh,

Thank you so much for sharing this here. We’re so sorry to hear about your daughter’s emotional pain. We can hear you’re a really caring parent and your concerns come from such a loving and supportive place, but it’s also a painful time for everyone involved. We can imagine having you with her while you drove around was a really important support, and shows her she is cared for. 

I’m sure we’ll hear from our amazing community soon, but in the meantime, we wanted to share a couple of pages with you in case they interest you: We’re really glad you mentioned looking after your own boundaries, and your own wellbeing. If you’d like any more ideas or information on this, feel free to have a look at our pages on looking after yourself while supporting someone.

The Beyond Blue counsellors are here for you if you’d like to talk this through on 1300 22 4636, or via online chat. It is so important that you look after yourself during these times and they can help you, or just be there if you want to talk.

We can hear you’ve worried at times about harm that could be caused to herself or others. If you’re ever concerned about her safety, or that of her partner, it’s important to know that you can call 000 as this is an emergency. 

We'd also recommend encouraging her to have a look into safety planning. The Beyond Now suicide safety planning app might be a good place to start. You can read about how it works and where to download it here: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/beyondnow-suicide-safety-planning .  She could even call Lifeline on 13 11 14 and compete it together with one of their counsellors over the phone if that seemed like a good option.

Thanks again for sharing here. We really appreciate your kindness and openness in sharing and offering your support here on the forums, so we hope you can be kind to yourself also through this time.

Kind regards,

Sophie M

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Charleigh,

It must be really difficult to see your daughter going through this, you sound like a really caring and supportive person in her life - she's lucky to have you.

I think the system you offered her to call you is really good and it's a chance for her to pause and make a decision to manage her mental health with your support. In her calmer and self reflective moments I would still maybe suggest she seek professional help, as ultimately this will be the best option for her.

But I understand when people are against it this isn't always easy. Does she have any close friends you could ask about this?

Another way of supporting her wellbeing would be to encourage healthy habits and coping strategies. Something as simple as going for a walk each day (or another form of exercise) can really help regulate our system. Or perhaps she's interested in exploring mindfulness? There are some good guided tracks on youtube for beginners - this is a really great skill to help relieve stress and calm the mind.

Journaling is another healthy outlet that can help - this is something I do regularly and it always helps me process my emotions and calms my stress. I just do a few pages a few times a week. Or pick it up when I'm really overwhelmed to get the thoughts out of my head.

Hope something here helps, let us know how everything is going when you can.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hey Charleigh,

Thank you for opening up to us on the forum! I just want to commend you for how supportive you are being. It’s extremely hard to see someone you love going through any kind of pain let alone knowing how to be there for them. It’s clear that you are a good listener and that you daughter feels comfortable and encouraged to open up to you when she is in need.

As a daughter that suffered with mental health issues, the most unhelpful thing for me was when my parents would get worked up when I was worked up and stress going to the doctors during that time. In the moments when I was really going through it, I knew that I needed to see a doctor but I was already very emotional, very sensitive, embarrassed and scared for what was to come. Basically, timing was everything and choosing to bring up that topic in that moment was completely disheartening and unhelpful for me.

Has she ever raised that conversation with you or her partner since you last discussed it? If she’s come to you in times that she needed support, do you feel confident that she will come to you to discuss the possibility of seeing a doctor? In those times, it might be helpful to reassure her that these concerns she is having around seeking help are completely valid and that they will be taken into account when discussing potential paths that she can take in her journey. Maybe remind her that regardless of how tough it may become, you are there for her and will continue to support her.

In the meantime, are there any activities that you both once did together or any shared interests/activities that you could do together?

All the best!

Community Member

Hi Charleigh

I was diagnosed at 17 like your daughter, I have grown up in western NSW and they told us that they would drop me as soon as I became an adult as the system changes so there was not much point.

I don’t know if this is a similar situation to yours but I thought I would reply as my relationship with my mum has been important in my recovery.

I have OCD, Deppression and an ED.

My relationship with my mum started to fall apart after my diagnosis, the psychiatrist made me feel very uncomfortable and to be honest I was lying at lot at that time. I was so scared. I wanted to tell my mum everything but couldn’t understand it myself and was so embarrassed. I took the medication my mum gave me but then began to feel suicidal and convinced myself it was the meds. I refused meds for two years after that.

maybe if you do make suggestions about getting help, talk with your daughter about different support to last time. Repeating experiences with services that have failed to recognise your needs feels hopeless.

Maybe you could research options together, talk about if the thought of meds or Therapy make her uncomfortable and if she gets upset just stay with her listen to her or if necessary change the topic.

This may not help, but I know how much it means when your mum keeps showing up for you long after you thought she should or would. I am so thankful for my mum and you are doing the right thing just by being there for her.

best wishes sea turtle

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Charleigh, your daughter may be frightened to see the doctor, simply because it's a professional sitting behind a desk and asking questions, which may make herfeel uncomfortable.

If however you were able to contact Kids Helpline 100 55 1800 by phone, web chat or online and discuss this current situation then someone will be in contact and probably the best part is that, although they are trained and qualified, they dress in casual clothes and any discussion can happen, not by someone behind a desk, but just casually, in her bedroom, lounge room, kitchen or the room where she feels more comfortable, which may be more appropriate for her.


Community Member

You can see a psychologist without requiring a referral from a GP but it is more expensive. GPs can offer a mental health care plan, which allows medicare to reimburse you for some of the cost. Doing this may "desensitise" her to the stigma associated with seeing a mental health professional.

I remember when I was due to see a pscyhiatrist from Julia Farr many years ago about my anxiety / depression as a result of a head injury. I was freaking out. He turned out to be the nicest guy and ended up diagnosing me which essentially helped me recover. The mind play silly tricks sometimes.

Half the battle with coping with mental health issues is the unecessary shame/guilt we feel for having the problem in the first place. You wouldn't feel guilty or embarrassed for catching a cold or getting the flu. Yet for some reason we feel ashamed for having something much more serious go wrong with us, often through no fault of our own. No one in their right mind would choose to have a mental health issue. So maybe pointing this out might help.

Hope this helps.