In the U.S., 1 in 5 adults has been diagnosed with a mental illness, if your partner has been diagnosed with a mental illness, it’s important for them to know that they are not alone and neither are you. Here are some ways that you can support them during this time. 

Learn as much as you can 

​If your partner has been diagnosed with a mental health illness, try to learn as much as you can about it. Doing a quick online search on nami.org or mhanational.org could be helpful in learning about the diagnoses and symptoms that your partner may be experiencing. Be mindful that not all mental illnesses are the same.

Understand what it is like for your partner

Talk with your partner and learn how their mental illness impacts them. It may not line up 100% to what you read online, as everyone is unique. So, the best way to support your partner is to understand what it is like for them.
 
Asking the following questions may help:

  • What was your diagnosis?
  • Help me understand when this started for you.
  • What symptoms do you experience?
  • When does this happen?
  • Are their triggers I should be aware about?
  • What can be helpful for you?
  • What outside support are you receiving?

 
Note that sometimes speaking to a therapist about this can be helpful to help normalize the experience for both partners. This may not be an easy conversation.

Be mindful and sensitive

​Remember this can be a sensitive topic for many people, as there is still a lot of stigma around mental illness. During this conversation, remember to engage in active listening skills of validating and empathizing with your partner. 

Don’t forget about yourself

​Being a support system also means that you must take care of yourself and your own mental health. Be sure to check out some ways to engage in self-care and you and your partner can engage in some activities together. 
​If you have found out your partner is battling with a mental illness, remember that they are not alone and neither are you. You can request a session with me or with another therapist, but be sure you seek out help if needed. 

By Priscilla Roriguez, M.S., LMFT

 Priscilla specializes in working with couples and helping them learn ways to communicate in order for them to feel comfortable and supported during tough conversations. Priscilla understands how mental illness may impact a relationship and helps couples learn how to navigate this together. Feel free to look at the online services offered through Modern Wellness Counseling and check out the client portal to conveniently schedule your next appointment.

Priscilla Rodriguez, M.S., LMFT (she/her/hers)

Priscilla specializes in working with couples and individuals who want to strengthen their relationship with themselves and with others. Priscilla utilizes research based techniques to help clients implement healthy coping skills and communication skills. Learn more on how you can enhance your relationship today.

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