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Forums / Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers) / Are you supporting a depressed partner? My tips from 18 years of experience

Topic: Are you supporting a depressed partner? My tips from 18 years of experience

4 posts, 0 answered
  1. Carmela
    Champion Alumni
    • Community champion volunteers who are not currently active on the forums.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Carmela avatar
    172 posts
    15 July 2016
    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 ( - 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.]

    94 people found this helpful
  2. HelplessWife
    HelplessWife avatar
    7 posts
    18 September 2018 in reply to Carmela

    Thank you Carmela

    This has helped give me some guidance in supporting and staying strong for my husband and our children

    I am trying and failing consistently as husband is more depressed then ever and has now retreated to living under the house...

    I hold onto hope he won’t give up on us...

    Thanks again

  3. PamelaR
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    PamelaR avatar
    2305 posts
    19 September 2018 in reply to HelplessWife

    Hi Helpless Wife and welcome to Beyond Blue forums

    It's good you've found your way to our supportive forums. Just letting you know Carmel wrote the post a long time ago (2016). So pleased to see you have found it useful in your current circumstances.

    I'm a little sad though that you feel like you are Helpless, but sure you are not. It just feels that way at times. It's the depression. Depression is debilitating for people at times, it takes time to heal and recover.

    If you want to talk some more, feel free to join in the discussions that happen in the forums by doing keyword searches in the Beyond Blue search field or by doing a Google search (and adding Beyond Blue). You can also start your own thread under the forum you think is the best one for you.

    Also, the BB homepage has a webpage - Looking after yourself. This is so important. When you're up to it, have a look there as well. It may have some more useful tips.

    Have you thought about contacting the Carer Advisory and Counselling Service? This service provides family carer support and counselling. You can contact your state or territory branch of Carers Association on 1800 242 636 (free call from landlines).

    When you feel like talking some more - feel free to do so.

    Kind regards


    2 people found this helpful
  4. Anonymous1001
    Anonymous1001 avatar
    3 posts
    20 January 2019 in reply to Carmela
    This is really helpful - thank you so much.

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