How to Support Your Partner While They are Struggling with Mental Health 

 

 

Mental health is a topic that affects a lot of people. Couples in a relationship are not sure of what to do when their partner is struggling with mental health and or showing mental health symptoms, particularly depression and anxiety. Partners in a relationship could have a negative or positive impact on each other’s mental health. When someone suffers from mental health issues, it becomes very difficult to fully commit to the relationship, which will subsequently suffer. It is best to support your partner in managing their symptoms in whatever way they need. Whether that is a mental and physical space or simply by just being there for them. Once you get over that mental health hurdle, you can shift the focus back on the relationship. In this article, I will address depression and anxiety symptoms and the best way for partners to support each other during this difficult time.

Depression:

Big warning signs to know if your partner is struggling with depression is if he/she are feeling irritable and/or depressed almost daily, losing interest in things they used to enjoy, you will notice them talking about death and having suicidal thoughts, sleeping a lot or too little, their appetite have changed and in need of spending time alone. One of the most common warning signs of depression is when you notice your partner is isolating themselves, slowly withdrawing from activities you enjoy doing together, and preferring to be alone.  

 

Anxiety:

Symptoms of anxiety include avoidance, restlessness, and sleeping too much or too little. Also, your partner can be overly stressed and worrying about things and become fearful and irritable.

 

How can you build a support system?

  1. When your partner is ready, get them professional help, which includes therapy and/or psychotropic medication. This could be either individual therapy or a couple’s therapy. Individual therapy can be very beneficial to the affected partner to hone in on specifics to work on. A couple’s therapy would assist in improving the relationship  
  2. Express your concerns in a supportive way. You can use “I,” such as, “I am worried about you because it appears that you are isolating yourself from our relationship” When expressing concern, try to stay away from statements starting with “you and why” because others tend to get defensive when such words are used towards them. 
  3. Ask your partner how you can be more supportive and helpful in what they are going through?  
  4. Supporting an individual with mental health symptoms requires a little bit of work but will also yield rewards. Putting your personal feelings aside and understanding what your significant other is going through will provide great support to your partner and could teach you how to be more patient. 
  5. Avoiding substances such as alcohol and marijuana is an important step in getting better, such substances can worsen depression and cause even more issues. Also, it is never recommended to use any kind of substances with psychotropic medication.  
  6. Give your partner space and time to heal from what they are going through and to use healthy coping skills effectively. Keep in mind to see consistent change, it takes about 6 months.  
  7. Learning about your partner’s triggers and how they want you to handle them is important as well.  

 

Why is it important to seek professional help if your partner is struggling with mental health and how can untreated mental health diagnoses affect the relationship?

Untreated mental health symptoms can prevent you and your partner from enjoying the relationship. For instance, as irritability is a common symptom, it will be difficult for the affected party to endure any misunderstandings and in turn they will easily become defensive. Also, you could avoid certain activities that you could do with your partner that both of you enjoy due to your anxiety being untreated and/or wanting to stay home and be in bed because you are experiencing symptoms of depression. Your partner could perceive you as a lazy individual because you lack energy either from lack of sleep, from worrying too much, or feeling fatigued. If your mental health is negatively affecting your relationship, it is important to talk to your partner about this and get the help you need. If you don’t seek treatment, the relationship could become toxic in many ways. Also, your partner could feel neglected in the relationship and could seek attention somewhere, such as spending a lot of time outside of the home with friends and family. Also, this could create an emotional distance in the relationship. It could limit the relationship from potential growth due to the hindrance that mental health issues can cause.

 

 

Mental health treatment at Harmony Bay Wellness 

If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health issues, it may be time to seek professional help. We aim to eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness and it starts with you. We offer a wide range of mental health services and therapies. Our staff of dedicated professionals values your individuality and will create a personalized treatment plan to help you get back to feeling yourself again. To learn more about anxiety and depression treatment at Harmony Bay, contact us today by calling 855.956.1493.  

 

Published on 11/21/2022 | Written by Harmony Bay Therapist, Ansimon Rezk, LPC