More people are aware of mental health than ever nowadays. The general public is more open to talking about their struggles with anxiety, depression, and a whole other host of mental health issues. But for a teen, talking about their mental health, especially to their parents, can be more difficult because they’re so unsure about what they’re feeling and how their parents will react to them possibly having a mental illness. This is especially true adoptee mental health. In fact, adopted children are nearly twice as likely as children who grow up with their biological parents to suffer from mood disorders like anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, I was one of those statistics.

I was adopted at birth and started developing depression when I was fifteen years old. At such a young age, I started having dark thoughts because I felt trapped when my parents fought amongst themselves. I specifically remember watching an advertisement about depression on TV and thinking, “Wow, that sounds like me.” When my parents separated when I was seventeen, I isolated myself and stopped doing things I previously loved, like reading books. I was even written up at my first job because I wasn’t smiling enough, and I didn’t go to college straight out of high school because I was too anxious to attend.


Adoptee Mental Health Is A Reality That Needs Addressing


Because my adoptive parents weren’t friendly toward mental health care, I didn’t tell them what I was going through. Therefore, I didn’t get the care I needed until adulthood, almost ten years after my depression began. I don’t think my parents were bad people, but I do think if my parents and other parents learned to recognize adoptee mental health issues early on in their children, it would save a lot of heartache for everyone.

Parents, don’t write unusual behavior from your teen as “She/He’s just being a teenager.” If you see a shift in mood in your teenager, open yourself up to talk to them. It could just be growing pains and hormones, but it also could be something more serious. Perhaps your teen is going through something that she or he hasn’t told you about. I wish I had been able to speak to a counselor or therapist when I was young so I could have been more equipped to manage my anxiety and depression.

Adopted children don’t expect their parents to be perfect, but having the openness to speak to their adopted child about their adoptee mental health means the world to them.


How To Get Help And Resources For Adoptee Mental Health


Mental health issues are something fast on the minds of most parents with children, even more so the adoptive parent. It is important to address any adoptee mental health issues with your child and their healthcare provider as soon as possible. If would like resources on where to find help and resources with mental health issues and adoptees, please email Lene Mondesir at:

Mental health is everyone’s issue. Staying on top of it helps everyone feel better.