Supporting family and friends

Share tips on supporting a partner, family member or friend with a mental health condition, and seeking support for your own wellbeing.

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Carmela Are you supporting a depressed partner? My tips from 18 years of experience
  • replies: 41

This list has been compiled from experiences supporting my husband with depression. There is no one size fits all, so please take what you are comfortable with based on your circumstances and resources. 1. Reach out to family and/or friends to feel s... View more

This list has been compiled from experiences supporting my husband with depression. There is no one size fits all, so please take what you are comfortable with based on your circumstances and resources. 1. Reach out to family and/or friends to feel supported - this also covers support groups - online or face to face. Don't let stigma stop you from reaching out. 2. Relationship boundaries - identify what is acceptable and not. My general platform is that physical abuse is unacceptable as well as regular demeaning/berating comments. Communicate this openly so everyone understands. 3. Coping tools - this could be exercise, meditation, reading a book, meeting friends, etc. They are important for your mental health. 4. Knowledge is power - research to understand about depression. The more you know, the better care you can provide. 5. Remember your partner in the good times - this is their true selves, not the darkness. 6. Listen and show receptivity - without judgement or anger. If communicate becomes strained, the timeout can provide clarity. Encourage communication gently and try not to push. 7. Seek counselling - sharing your feelings can provide an opportunity to off load the heavy stuff and identify resilience and coping strategies. 8. Work as a team - don't let mental illness be in the driver's seat. Offer to go to the Dr's and support them. Understand medication and side effects. Be understanding that some days are harder than others. 9. Words are powerful - remember what you say cannot be taken back. 10. Carer Self-esteem and self-worth - if you compromise these for the sake of supporting your partner, you are likely to live with resentment towards your partner and the circumstances you find yourself in. 11. Don't forget the children - challenging circumstances at home can affect them mentally and emotionally. Speak about mental illness (COPMI.com.au - has some great resources) and be a strong foundation toward maintaining normality in their daily activities. 12. Intimacy - there are many variables here, so from my experience - keep communication open and make couple time to connect. When my husband was depressed, daily hugs or holding hands wherever possible worked for us. Some carers I have spoken with said their partner would demand intimacy. My personal position is that intimacy is about love without demands or attachments relating to expectation. Demands only deplete the goodness in the connection and sharing a a loving experience. [Moderator's note: this thread is for sharing tips on what has worked for you in supported a loved one with a mental health condition. In order to help us keep this thread focused on solutions, please start a new thread if you are seeking support from the community around how to best support your loved one.]

All discussions

Matchy69 struggling with special needs children
  • replies: 641

Does anyone else have children with special needs.I am struggling with mine.My youngest cant use a toilet when their at the age they should be.I am getting tired of changing them,does that make me a bad parent?The constant hyperepisodes are taking th... View more

Does anyone else have children with special needs.I am struggling with mine.My youngest cant use a toilet when their at the age they should be.I am getting tired of changing them,does that make me a bad parent?The constant hyperepisodes are taking their strain especially that i am going through other personal stuff in my life

jacob_ bullying
  • replies: 4

hello, the past year for me have been incredible rough. i just turned 14 and have been going through bullying. this one kid in particular is giving me an incredibly rough time and i recently opened up to my parents. they went to this boys mother and ... View more

hello, the past year for me have been incredible rough. i just turned 14 and have been going through bullying. this one kid in particular is giving me an incredibly rough time and i recently opened up to my parents. they went to this boys mother and have “sorted” this all out. i feel like i cannot escape this one kid as he is “friends “ with most of my mates. everyone of my mates are scared of him therefore suck up to him to not be the next ones bullied. i now am starting up school again but i just feel drained. the endless loop of going to school still not feeling safe. this one kid “knows people “ and threatens so many kids. as a result of me opening up to my parents , an old friend of mine also opened up to his parents about all of this. i just feel so so drained. any recommendations? sorry if i dragged this out to long

cuca Mental Heath and Bullying
  • replies: 4

My 13 yrs old has been bullied ongoing for nearly two years, due to other ongoing issues she’s now too scared to go out, make new friendships and believe no one to like her. Has anyone have any ideas on how I can support my daughter?

My 13 yrs old has been bullied ongoing for nearly two years, due to other ongoing issues she’s now too scared to go out, make new friendships and believe no one to like her. Has anyone have any ideas on how I can support my daughter?

lizzy_windmill My friend might be pregnant
  • replies: 2

I posted this on "young people" but i feel like it's possibly more appropriate here? I'm probably going to find out some time today if my friend is pregnant or not but I can't stop thinking about it and obviously can't talk to anyone I know (cos they... View more

I posted this on "young people" but i feel like it's possibly more appropriate here? I'm probably going to find out some time today if my friend is pregnant or not but I can't stop thinking about it and obviously can't talk to anyone I know (cos they also know her and that's not fair) so here I am for a little rant haha. We're both 19, her boyfriend is 20, they are in a pretty happy and committed relationship (probably close to 1.5 years now) and want kids someday but since they're both at uni and whatever now isn't really the best time, but they have discussed previously if they accidently get pregnant they'll most likely keep the baby. So she tested two days ago (she's been feeling sick and bloated and other symptoms recently, so she felt she should test just in case) and she said there was a very faint positive line. Naturally since it was so faint she decided to wait a couple days and try again (which is today!). Anyway basically I'm really nervous since we're quite close friends (from highschool) and she's asked me to be the godmother of her future babies and if she is pregnant she's gonna get married soon and I'll be the maid of honour and look I know it's not as stressful as what she's gonna go through if she is pregnant but I'm really caught between excited and terrified that she might actually be pregnant and what I'm supposed to do as her/one of her best friends! We're 19 going on 20 which little me would've considered more than old enough to deal with this but hey let's be real we're definitely still kids and this is hella stressful haha, even if she isn't pregnant this time around she is gonna keep having preggo scares and it's really very stressful and I kinda wish she wouldn't tell me until she was sure I'm super nervous to hear from her and I know she is also torn between excited and terrified cos she does want a baby one day just not right now haha, but she'll have it anyway. She's been half relieved and disappointed from previous preggo scares but I think this one will be worse since she kinda had a pos line (if it is neg) and of course if it is pos than goddamn that'll be scary. Not to mention it's the first week of semester two of uni!! Anyway that's enough ranting from me curious to see what you strangers have to say xx

mitten20 Depressed young teen
  • replies: 5

Hi, I have a 13 year old who is suffering from depression and is harming herself. She is so withdrawn and will not interact with us at home - won’t watch a movie together, refuses to come on family outings or walks, refusing to eat with us. I’m reall... View more

Hi, I have a 13 year old who is suffering from depression and is harming herself. She is so withdrawn and will not interact with us at home - won’t watch a movie together, refuses to come on family outings or walks, refusing to eat with us. I’m really sad and scared. What can I do? She has started medication and sees many docs/counsellors but I can’t get her to interact with us. It’s breaking my heart

Shelly2024 Need help
  • replies: 4

Hi, i am an this forum because my daughter has tried to take her life again i dont know what to do anymore. This time she posted on facebook (which i cant see) that she was going to end it. I knew something was not right so i told her i would go to w... View more

Hi, i am an this forum because my daughter has tried to take her life again i dont know what to do anymore. This time she posted on facebook (which i cant see) that she was going to end it. I knew something was not right so i told her i would go to work and be back within the hour and we can spend day together. I got home and found she had attempted. I called ambulance and know hoping she will come home today. The problem is i dont know what to do anymore although she always says it has nothing to do with me. She is a beautiful young woman with so much potential but she cant see it. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you Michelle

saddenedsaint At loss part 2
  • replies: 2

So 16 days of pure heart ache and anguish have passed, he is back tomorrow. I’m not sure how things will unfold, I love this man, he has broken me, left me at my most vulnerable and assumes things will be ok when he returns. I’m afraid I’m not strong... View more

So 16 days of pure heart ache and anguish have passed, he is back tomorrow. I’m not sure how things will unfold, I love this man, he has broken me, left me at my most vulnerable and assumes things will be ok when he returns. I’m afraid I’m not strong enough to do this anymore. I’m scared that he will return and decide that we are not what he wants anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I am strong enough for my family to go on. That’s a woman’s way, we just keeping going. But I am so tired of trying to carry this load on my own. I don’t know if I should be passive and listen to what he has to say about our future or just make the choice that will break my heart in the best interests of my family. Or keep trying. He’s my love and my best friend, I just don’t know what to do anymore.

worried-auntie Worried about suicidal nephew and how to talk to my children
  • replies: 1

Hi, a family member told me last night that her foster son (15) who has experienced trauma as a young child is going through a very tough time including depression, self-harm, and substance abuse. They have been seeking help and have a great mental h... View more

Hi, a family member told me last night that her foster son (15) who has experienced trauma as a young child is going through a very tough time including depression, self-harm, and substance abuse. They have been seeking help and have a great mental health and school team supporting them at this time, and our family is also here for any support they need. I have 2 kids (10, 13) and am worried about how to best talk to them about their cousin's struggle. I told them this morning that he is going through a difficult time (as they know his history) without going into any details yet. I am not sure how to best support them? They want to help their cousin feel better as best as they can by including him in some activities we spoke about. I found out yesterday that he has been cutting himself and that some of his cuts are visible on his hands. How do I best explain this to my kids? I am also worried about contagion. I would really appreciate any ideas, thoughts, and support resources. I am not sure if there is a helpline that I could call to talk about this? Any info would be great. Thank you!

Loubaby How to help my son with his wife’s depression
  • replies: 2

Hi everyone I have sunk to the depths of despair worrying about my adult son. Not long after my son married he found out that his wife was bingeing alcohol behind his back. A few trips to emergency and she has been placed on medication. Her depressio... View more

Hi everyone I have sunk to the depths of despair worrying about my adult son. Not long after my son married he found out that his wife was bingeing alcohol behind his back. A few trips to emergency and she has been placed on medication. Her depression is all consuming. I know that is a hideous disease but it is destroying him. The other day he got a phone call from her on his way home from work to say she’d overdosed on her medication. She is going into rehab again. Part of me wants him to leave her but I know it’s not my decision. He says he loves her but I’m wondering if he’s just scared. This is not the life I envisaged for him. They don’t go anywhere or do things as a couple. Certainly no signs of affection from her and they’ve only been married 4 years. He does most cooking and housework. How do I help him. We suggested he get his own counseling. Keep up some exercise and do something for himself each week. It’s killing me inside to see his zest for life slipping away

anteater08 Good or bad friendship?
  • replies: 5

Um this is my first time doing these kinds of things but I need to vent somewhere. So I have this friend and I really enjoy hanging out with her. She's really nice and also funny, but recently she's been acting all mean and like fed up with me. Maybe... View more

Um this is my first time doing these kinds of things but I need to vent somewhere. So I have this friend and I really enjoy hanging out with her. She's really nice and also funny, but recently she's been acting all mean and like fed up with me. Maybe it's just me or something but sometimes I feel like she actually hates me. I want to tell her how I feel about it but I don't want something big to happen and I don't want it to affect our friendship or anyone around us. I just don't know what to do.