Supporting family and friends

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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.]

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Mum_to_TJJ Depression or self indulgent? Could it be both?
  • replies: 4

My 20 year old son won’t come out of his room(Uni student on Christmas break). He will talk to me and has agreed to go to the Dr with me to find out what is going on. He was extremely athletic, football, gym etc, until he had a knee reconstruction fi... View more

My 20 year old son won’t come out of his room(Uni student on Christmas break). He will talk to me and has agreed to go to the Dr with me to find out what is going on. He was extremely athletic, football, gym etc, until he had a knee reconstruction five months ago. He also has a shoulder injury that he is seeing a specialist for in the beginning of February. I feel like he has depression but also part of me feels like he is being self indulgent (teenage behaviour). I feel very frustrated! I work with people with disabilities and here he is, a healthy young man with his whole life ahead, he has injuries but they will heal, I can not get him to see the big picture! He says if he can’t play football what’s the point of anything? I have suggested he try other physical activities he can do until his injuries heal but he isn’t interested in trying anything! His sleep is all over the place his eating habits are atrocious even though the fridge is full of healthy food and I cook from scratch every night. He knows how important physical activity and diet are for mental health yet he isn’t interested in helping himself? As his mum who loves him to bits, I am very sad and very frustrated!

Minxi How do I help?
  • replies: 15

Hey everyone. I haven't been here before, hope I'm doing it right. I was wondering if anyone can help work out the difference between being rejected by someone with depression, and when it's just an excuse to ditch someone you don't want? I know this... View more

Hey everyone. I haven't been here before, hope I'm doing it right. I was wondering if anyone can help work out the difference between being rejected by someone with depression, and when it's just an excuse to ditch someone you don't want? I know this is horribly selfish if he really does have depression, but my own insecurities nag at me and I think I'm just not good enough for him even though he says it's the other way around. Are people suffering depression still able to date and send gorgeous texts and make you think they want something real? What signs should I be looking for here and what can I do to help him if he is genuinely depressed? This person is important to me and I have known him a long time. I haven't heard from him since he broke down saying he's a failure. I don't know what to think.

lonergirl partner is unemployed and has generalised anxiety
  • replies: 2

Hi, first time here. So my partner 35(M) and I, 39(F) have been together for 17 and half years, since we both graduated from Uni, we are not married and no kids. He started having mental health issues around 7 years ago. At first it was gradual but i... View more

Hi, first time here. So my partner 35(M) and I, 39(F) have been together for 17 and half years, since we both graduated from Uni, we are not married and no kids. He started having mental health issues around 7 years ago. At first it was gradual but it has gotten worse over time. The last three years he has been going to a counselor and getting some cognitive therapy. Medicare provides him with 10 free appointments a year. He has not worked for around 5 years now after loosing his last job, which was only a part-time one on quite low wages. He is not entitled to any money or help in finding a job from Centrelink at all, because apparently (at $54,000) I earn far too much. I have been struggling coping with our finances on my own. Due to always working, getting any help for myself to perhaps either see a counselor or financial planner is virtually impossible because i rarely ever take any time off. I also don't have any friends that live near by. I have tried talking to his family about it, but my feeling is that that they don't understand the position I am in, and the amount of stress I am under from coping with all his mental health issues on my own. His symptoms are daily panic attacks, shaking, and sometimes violent rages, he also has frequent nightmares and insomnia. I would describe his symptoms has being similar to PTSD, but that's not actually what he has. He has never physically hurt me in any way but it is often frightening to see what he is going through. The only advice people have given me is that i should break-up with him, but for a lot of reasons, i just don't think I could do it, anyway we still love each other even though times are tough. How do i go about getting support for myself to help me through this?

Bethie Partner with PTSD need help
  • replies: 24

Hi My partner has PTSD and was ok in till a recent accident cause him to get amnesia. As his memory is starting to come back so has his PTSD. I didn' even know he saw active duty untill August this year. It seems that he kept being infantry in East T... View more

Hi My partner has PTSD and was ok in till a recent accident cause him to get amnesia. As his memory is starting to come back so has his PTSD. I didn' even know he saw active duty untill August this year. It seems that he kept being infantry in East Timour a secrect. I'e had to get the ambulance and police to take him to hospital a few times now dye to the fact that when he' been asleep he starts reliving everything he saw and did under orders and has grabbed ahold of me a few times thinking I was the enemy. On some level he still knows it' me and doesn' hurt me. I didn' know untill recently that for over 20 years he had used a very very small amount of marihuana a day to help. He told me he's tried everything else including hypmo theropy and acupuncture after he got out but nothing worked long term. He' now taking very small amounts of smoke again but is on anti anxiety/anti depressants meds. It' been a week today since his last attack but I'm really scared. I suffer chronic anxiety and depression myself and at times totally break down. We have a 14 year old son who thank God gets people to talk to about his Dad via Army Cadets which helps. If anyone has been through anything like this please please I need advice. Most of the guys my partner served with have passed away now. The last one only a few months ago. My partner feels he should have been there for him. Reality is the guy suffered a brain tumour and died suddenly at 48. It was nothing to do with his military service but since he saved my partners life and vise versa my parter has taken it very hard. I' struggling. Part of me hates the Army so bad and seeing my son hell bent on going into infantry when he' 17 breaks my heart. I want to wrap my partner in cotton wool and never take my eyes of him. If I could I'd take his pain away and bear it myself. But I can't. We talked today and he wants me to get help but I'm scared. So much I learnt is highly classfied and I don't want to open things better left buried for good reason. How do people handle this sort of thing?

Goingtogetbetter 10 year old daughter
  • replies: 4

Hi all my 10 year old daughter is having anxiety panic attacks that just started over the last 3 days. They make her want to go to the toilet very often and times where goes straight back in after she has been. She is in tears and doesnt want to trav... View more

Hi all my 10 year old daughter is having anxiety panic attacks that just started over the last 3 days. They make her want to go to the toilet very often and times where goes straight back in after she has been. She is in tears and doesnt want to travel or go out i use to get attacks like this but somewhat manage it now but not sure how to help her as she says nothing is helping. We think it has to do with her dream she had where someone broke into the house and has a fear now of this occurring where she asks if everything is checked before bed and any little noises she yells out if it was us moving. Its now impacting her day and sleep (and ours). Just after some advice as we're stuck what to do ☹ we'll be trying to get her to a psychologist as soon as we can get her in... but need some help in the interim. Any advice is very muchh appreciated. Thanks M

Moama77 Needing help with my daughter
  • replies: 3

Hi is there anyone with any stratagies on what i could say to get my daughter 15 years old to get professional help. She stubborn, doesnt matter what i do or try she will not seek professional help i have told her various times that there is nothing ... View more

Hi is there anyone with any stratagies on what i could say to get my daughter 15 years old to get professional help. She stubborn, doesnt matter what i do or try she will not seek professional help i have told her various times that there is nothing wrong seeing someone about her issues she has and its nothing to be ashamed about. And that Everything is confidential what she speaks about and its not scary to speak to someone and what types of profession helps do in appointments. I too have depression and feeling down about this as i feel i need to sort her out before myself. She has spoken to me about little things that have been bothering her but not much else that also has been bothering her. She sits up most of the night. And sleeps most of the day. She refuses to leave her room unless some of her friends beg her to go out have some fun like swimming or go to movies, shopping etc. she is known to lie. She is also trying to gather info that she could have epilepsy. Im so unsure what to do anymore. My family don’t understand what she is going through due to they havent experienced depression. Im left out with ideas what else to say to get her to speak to someone. I dont want to send her to mental health hospitals as i feel its not right at the moment. Feeling lost i dont know what to do im single mum and she doesnt have an father figure about as well. Its just me. so has anyone got any advice how to go about getting her to seek help. Cause she refusing everytime i ask her if she needs to speak to someone.

Nuttytech Help with bod panther pushing my away [Trigger warning: domestic violence]
  • replies: 3

Hi I like to say this before we start I have a lot of anger issues In the process off working it out with my doctors and a health care plan. Hi my author have has bpd And we have been together for 7 mouth.In the first 2-4 weeks we where great when sh... View more

Hi I like to say this before we start I have a lot of anger issues In the process off working it out with my doctors and a health care plan. Hi my author have has bpd And we have been together for 7 mouth.In the first 2-4 weeks we where great when she was upset I would talk to her. When she went self harming I would sit there for hours with her say it ok there nothing to fear. And we where great but there was a night about 6 mouth ago where we got in a real fight the type off fight that you see in boxing ring. And that fight I pushed here to get help but not addressed my own issues.So we would keep fighting and keep fighting. Tell about 4 mouth ago where I had a metal brake down. And lost my child the house we loved in We where homeless for about 3 weeks. so we rented a room from the guy. Who was a drug dealer We had a big fight about 3 mouth and I left for 4 days after saying same very mean things to her. The roommate give her same drugs to get out off that bad mind set. About 2 mouth ago we had a very big fight over her using drugs after party with the roommate and got into a Fight. I left and stop talking to her for 1 week.Then we start to talk and she told me she was going out party with the roommate. The next day I got a message at 4am saying need help. She had went on a bender and I rushed her off to the hospital. Where she was in there for 4 days detox her.I had to got her out off that house that she was in so. I decided we where going to be staying with my brother. Then she had started to go back to her self we where getting help for her and I with support workers. But at the time I was to much off a man to get any help so I refused. Fast forward 6 weeks we had another fight over her drinking I over reacted over a time spand of 3 days we had the police at the house 4 time for fighting. We Where told to away stay for 72 hurs by the police or one off eles we will go to jail then we I realised I need help. And I took 4 days to get the help I need with support workers and drs. But how do I show her I getting help and I not the person I was. Sine the last fight she has not been her self very around me.I would try to hold hand with her and she take her hand away. There no more I love you or if there is dose sound like it true

guest_8796 How to help another person but not get depressed myself
  • replies: 3

I am dealing with my own issues but also trying tobbe supportive if someone else but feel overwhelmed and cannot assist much but listen. Now when i had bad day myself they felt their issues were too much for me and seemed angry. As i will not break t... View more

I am dealing with my own issues but also trying tobbe supportive if someone else but feel overwhelmed and cannot assist much but listen. Now when i had bad day myself they felt their issues were too much for me and seemed angry. As i will not break their confidentiality i need to not deel guilty or angry at this person. I am journaling my thoughts as too worried to say to this person how i feel as they are extremely sensitive so its a delicate situation. Iam trying to complete my resume for a position that closes on friday but not motivated any suggestions to get back on track?

Toasted Getting frusrated and upset with my mum who has ptsd & depression. Trouble accepting that she isnt getting better.
  • replies: 5

Hello, This may be a long one, my mother has suffered from ptsd and depression for about 7 years now and everytime she visits or vise versa i have this expectation that "she is going to be better this time" she never is, and i feel as if this unreali... View more

Hello, This may be a long one, my mother has suffered from ptsd and depression for about 7 years now and everytime she visits or vise versa i have this expectation that "she is going to be better this time" she never is, and i feel as if this unrealistic expectation just makes it harder to cope with the way she is.. I just get super frustrated with her and the way she behaves and interacts with me puts me in a bad head space. I really love my mum and love spending time with her but i feel like its getting harder for me to cope with. I've identified the 3 behaviours that mostly effected me last time she visited and im almost certain that these 3 behaviours have always been hard for me to deal with. Please let me know what you think about why she behaves these ways, ive put what i think, but really i'm just assuming and i dont know, (which is kind of funny when you read the 3rd behaviour.) 1. She says shes a really empathic person that picks up on others feelings, but she constantly makes decisions and acts in ways, that completely disregards others feelings. I beleive that she is actually incapable of empathy as she herself just feels numb due to the depression or the antidepressants hence why she diregards others feelings as she doesnt really understand them. 2. she constantly tries to prove herself as being smarter and more capable than others i beleive this is due to her personal insecurities, i'm pretty sure her ptsd has alot to do with insecurity. This i really struggle to cope with as i guess im a little insecure myself. she doesnt give my thoughts or opinions any weight and alot of the time doesnt actually listen to what i have to say, it can be very belittling and upsetting. 3. She makes wide assumptions based on little fact it's to the point where she assumes what im going to say befor ive even finished talking, this is really frustrating and makes it hard for me to want to talk to her. I think this has a bit to do with the above as its very similar behaviour, but i read somewhere that making assumptions on things is a way people cope with understanding there surroundings and situations. which i totally agree with as thats basically what im doing here lol. Maybe i'm just being overly judgemental, i mean nobodies perfect right? Any advice or tips with coping with the above behaviours or advice on how to accept that she is probably going to suffer from this for the rest of her life would be greatly appreciated. thankyou in advance for your help.

Anna_M_ My girlfriend's anxiety and depression has been a lot to deal with
  • replies: 4

I'm 23. Been with my 31yo gf (hereto 'GF') over a year. She has diagnosed anxiety and depression. It's been a lot to deal with. Her last gf - and source of her ptsd-like anxiety - convinced her not to take her meds and GF already has an aversion to d... View more

I'm 23. Been with my 31yo gf (hereto 'GF') over a year. She has diagnosed anxiety and depression. It's been a lot to deal with. Her last gf - and source of her ptsd-like anxiety - convinced her not to take her meds and GF already has an aversion to doctors. But her dissociative episodes are frequent. Her panic attacks aren't hyperventilating. They are headaches, and fainting, limp in my arms, stop breathing, gasp awake, claw at herself, and frequent visits to the bathroom. That was terrifying the first time and has not improved since. I had to google the symptoms just to figure out what was happening and whether I needed to call an ambulence at 2am. I finally convinced her to see a GP after a year (for general health as well as mental). She didn't tell the Dr much except that she was previpusly diagnosed and medicated and she didn't like talking about her feelings, at which point the Dr gave her a reading list instead. And that's been it. I'm here tonight because I need support. It's been one of those night's where I've had to put myself first. Remind myself that I don't have to go out of my way and even do something dentrimental to myself to make her feel better. That I'm not to blame if she choses to break a clean streak and have a smoke, or punch a wall - that I'm not responsible for her actions. That I can remove myself from the conversation when explaining that I don't like how I'm being treated will be met with: 'Thanks a lot for making me feel like a terrible human being! I'm sorry I make you feel so awful! Why do you bother staying around!' And its because I love her. Because the happiness seems worth the anguish. Because I've told her I'd never leave. And she said it would kill her if I did. And I don't doubt it. And it all just hurts. So please someone help me. Just say hi. Say that you're there. Say I've been heard.