As much as Egyptians want to deny the importance of it, mental health problems are real and they’re not a joke. Let’s face it, we’ve all needed a therapist at some point in our lives and the reactions we got were along the lines of:
“It’s all in your head”
“What do you have problems with, entu medala3een asasan”
“Fi nas 3andaha mashakel aw7ash bekteer, toughen up”
But you know what? If a person thinks they have a mental problem, then it should be addressed, no matter what anyone else says. Here’s how I think you should approach this topic with your parents without having them take you as a joke or them taking it personally.
- Remind them that this isn’t about them.
Usually whenever we have a problem; lack of confidence, bad grades or even physical injuries, parents take it very personally, like it’s their fault it happened. Sometimes it is, but most of the time, it’s external; school, friends, or even just people on the street. When you approach the topic of mental health with your parents, my first advice would be to get the message across that this isn’t about them, whether it is their fault or not, this problem isn’t about them, it’s about you. If they realise that something with their parenting skills are lacking, then that’s great, but it’s not the point.
2. Talk to them calmly and clearly.
Let’s be honest, most of our parents don’t get the point of mental problems or the concept of mental health. This conversation belnezbalhum is already a ‘back of the head’ matter, so when talking about why you want to go see a therapist, you need to be calm. If you’re not calm, whether it be because you’re screaming or crying, they’re not going to take you seriously and instantly go into defense mode and without realizing, subconsciously reject the idea all together.
3. Help them help you.
Before talking to your parents, do your research. Figure out what the problem is and exactly how a therapist would fix it. Above that, you might want to take them back to the basics; explain to them what mental health is, why it’s important, why they can’t help you with this and possibly give them a detailed explanation of how it will go in regards of the whereabouts, the timing, who is going to be counselling you and possibly, for how long. By having all the information ready and your cards all laid out on the table, your parents will maybe come to realise that this is serious and not a joke to you. They could also come to see you in another light; as a person who has done the work, put in the effort and most importantly, taken matters into their own hand in order to solve a problem they’re going through.
Before I finish this article altogether, I want to remind you all to put into consideration that this might still not work. If that happens, you need to know that you’re not alone, you have other options, talk to the school counsellor, a teacher or maybe even a friend. Those might not be ideal answers, but I’m not here to give a perfect answer, I’m here to be a realist.
P.S. Stay safe