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I don't know how to help my partner cope with grief

Community Member

My partner has lost both his son and his father over the last three years. He feels incredibly guilty over the death of his son and feels he is a fault. He hadn't seen his son in over 10 years and missed a cry for help from another family member. He has never properly addressed these feelings and drinks heavily. His family background is profoundly sad and I will never fully understand the suffering he has endured throughout his life. 

Recently he has had some more bad news which is compounding his depression.

He is a very stubborn and headstrong individual and has told me many times he will not see a mental health professional. I know I am the only person who knows about the gravity of his pain and feel compelled to help him. I worry that he will do something stupid one day, and I will be the only person who can stop it. But I don't know what to do. I love him more than I can describe and can't bear the thought of loosing him.   

1 Reply 1

Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi lkjtjdp,

You may not be able to convince him to see someone just yet, but maybe you can get him to watch a video.  Allan's story from our Man Therapy site might resonate with him, have a look and see what you think: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBTAXr1TL5A

The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement has a useful page on commonly asked questions about grief, ways to help, and also how to take care of yourself during this time: http://www.grief.org.au/grief_and_bereavement_support/understanding_grief/supporting_adults_1

There is also the BB resource for caring for someone with depression, which includes sections on how to help acknowledge your loved one that there is a problem, and moving them toward help-seeking: https://www.bspg.com.au/dam/bsg/product?client=BEYONDBLUE&prodid=BL/0445&type=file

It doesn't sound like he's going to jump straight from where he is now into that doctor's office, it's going to take a bit of time to work through, and stubborn people (raises hand) will naturally react against advice they're being given that they don't want to hear.  

Our support service may be able to give you some advice as well if you'd like to talk to someone on the phone: 1300 22 46 36.

You are doing the absolute best that you can - please try not to feel "pre-guilty" and predict the future.  It's a dark time for your partner but he has made it this far.  For your own wellbeing it's a good thing to remember that you can never be wholly responsible for the thoughts and actions of another person, no matter how much you love them.

Take care and keep checking in with us to let us know how things are going.


Online Community Manager