How to Help a Partner Struggling With Mental Health
Life is not always sunshines and rainbows. Sometimes a storm hits and you have to fight your way out of it. Other times, a storm hits your partner and you have to help them fight their way out of it.
Loving your partner through their mental illness can help to strengthen and deepen a relationship, but there are also times when it becomes toxic.
If you have a loved one who is going through the ringer, here are some practical ways to help them get through it and show that you care.
Encourage them to seek help
When it comes to mental illness like depression and anxiety, nothing compares to expert help. Despite the stigma around therapy and counseling, it’s important to know that it can do wonders for mental health.
Encourage your partner to seek professional help. Express that there's nothing wrong with talking to someone about how they feel. There are even therapists that will allow you to sit with your partner and participate, if that's what they want. Likewise, you should take the time to check if you need support — it's important to practice self-care even when you are taking care of a partner.
Knowledge is power. When you read, research, and ask questions about mental illness, you'll feel more ready to take on the situation. It can make you feel less overwhelmed and give you insight into what your partner needs.
If you don’t know where to start, simply call a doctor and start a conversation. You can also ask your partner directly what you can do to help them.
Create healthy habits together
Come up with a healthy distraction. It will strengthen your bond together, as it encourages you to work as a team and adds something to look forward to in your relationship.
Some examples of healthy habits are working out, cooking dinner, picking up a new skill, or reading together. The possibilities are endless and they depend on your own interests.
Check in with your partner every so often to ask how they are doing. Asking thoughtful and personal questions shows that you care about how they feel.
Navigating mental illness with your partner is not always easy, but with healthy habits and communication, you can both make it through to the other side.