Articles, Blog

♡ How to Support Your Partner Suffering With a Mental Illness ♡

December 28, 2019


It can be very challenging supporting a partner or a loved one who has depression or anxiety. There are a lot of challenges that come with having this illness, including: maybe not being as helpful around the house, with chores, helping with the kids, helping with cleaning, maybe they can’t hold down a job because of their mental illness, making the partner the breadwinner in the family. Maybe your partner is avoiding social activities, making it harder for you to go out & be a part of society, when your partner just wants to be isolated. & maybe they’re going through a lot of emotional issues right now. Maybe they’re sad, depressed, angry, anxious, guilty. Maybe they feel hopeless or worthless, & that could take a real toll on the relationship. It get it! I’ve been on both sides of this dilemma. I’ve been with someone who has mental health issues, who was suffering with depression, & it was really draining & hard, & I suffer with depression & anxiety & sometimes, when my symptoms get kicked up, it’s really hard on my partner. Today I want to talk about how to support a partner or a loved one who is suffering with a mental illness. One of the things I tell a lot of partners is get to know your partner’s illness. If your partner is suffering with depression, maybe look up what it’s like to have depression, or depression symptoms, or depression resources. Understanding the illness could help you relate to your partner & help you know how you can support them. It’ll also help when misconceptions come up, because there’s a lot of misconceptions around mental illness. So if you educate yourself, & get around that stigma, that’s really going to help your relationship. Encourage treatment & reaching out for help. It’s really reassuring when a partner says “Hey, there’s no shame in reaching out for help, for talking about your depression, or anxiety with a therapist or a doctor.” There’s so many benefits of talking about your mental illness with someone, & for you to, like, talk to them about it would be very supportive. Reinforce the positive behaviors. Them taking care of themselves, getting out of bed, taking a shower, those little things that we take for granted, but can be very hard for someone with depression. Say “Wow, you’re doing such a good job today!”, or
“I can see that you’re improving.” or just say “Hey! I’ve noticed that you’re doing really well today, & I wanted to let you know that I love you.” Those little things are really helpful, & those little things could mean the world to somebody. Don’t assume what they need, ask them what they need. Different people want to be supported in different ways. I would like someone to hold me, to cuddle me, & I wanna tell people my life story, & just share my thoughts with people, other people might just want you to just be with them, help them find resources, be a support to them, help them with their daily activities if they’re having trouble. So ask your partner, “How can I support you?”
“How can I be of help to you?” Encourage them towards their recovery goals. Everyone defines ‘recovery’ in a different way. What I define recovery could be different than what your partner defines ‘recovery’. So ask them! “What are your goals?”,
“What are you working towards?”,
“How can I help you do that?” & be patient. It’s going to be stressful sometimes. You’re gonna want to get angry because they do something, I don’t really know an example off my head, but you probably know of those times when you just, you’re not that patient. We need you to be patient. Somebody who is suffering with a mental illness needs patience, because recovery takes time. We’re not going to get better overnight.
So be patient with us. A few things to keep in mind when you’re supporting someone with a mental illness is keep boundaries, set those boundaries with the person that you are trying to support, because you need to support, because you take care of your yourself, this person cannot consume your life, this person cannot consume you. You need to remember your own mental health. An example of this could be if your partner is not seeking help, & is not going to therapy, & is not getting a job. There’re not really helping themselves, maybe start that conversation on how to improve the situation, because you can’t live that way, & they can’t live that way. Maintain a support system, because sometimes it can be very draining to support someone with a mental illness, & you need a support system, as well as they do. So keep in contact with family & friends, go out & be with people, & talk to someone if it gets a little bit too overwhelming. & don’t give up your own life. Like I said, you need to set boundaries, & you need to know that you come first. You come first, & your mental health comes first, & if they’re taking too much of a toll, maybe step back. You have your own dreams, you have your own goals, you have your own life. And you need to keep that accountable, don’t let this person consume you. I hate saying that & I know you really want to be supportive for this person, but just remember & be mindful about your own life. Because you need to remember your own self-care, & your own mental health. Whoo! That was a lot of stuff, & I hope that some of it helped you, & I hope that it helps you in your relationship. If you have any tips or tricks on how you support your loved one, your girlfriend or boyfriend, or whoever your partner, please let me know down below, if I missed something. It can help other people so if you’re here & you wanna learn more, go down in the comments, there’s probably something down there that could help you. Again, my name is Kristen, I make mental health content every single week! :3 Please subscribe if you want more mental health & self care content that I make every week! I love you guys, & I’ll see you guys next time.
Bye guys! :3

49 Comments

  • Reply Lillian Kier February 13, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    Thanks you so much you've helped me a lot. Thank you❤️

  • Reply Amy C February 13, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Thank you for all your videos 😀

  • Reply Caring Mind February 13, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Good video, some great tips, might share this video

  • Reply guiltmenot February 13, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    I appreciate this video because I've never been in a relationship where someone made an effort to understand my illness or help me through it. I remember at one of my low points I mentioned that I struggled with a mental illness on okcupid and I got zero messages!! People don't want to take on a "charity case". It's so sad. That would never be a dealbreaker for me. I'm not interested in dating or making new friends at all, but I've found that YouTube comments on videos like this consist of people that legitimately empathize and care. I'm very appreciative of those people. 🙂

    Ok real talk though, what lip color is this? I love it!

  • Reply Rachel Eh? February 13, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    Thank you for this video. I deal with mental illness and it definitely takes a toll on my relationship but I and my partner have also grown so much through this trial. It has taken a lot to come to the reality that he is willing to love me and to him I am worth it, I need to have mercy on myself like I have mercy on him. I feel like a burden, but if I look at if I were the one taking care of him with these issues, it would be worth it. Be kind to yourself and to others.

  • Reply Liam O Donovan February 13, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    your videos are always amazing I love you so much I swear off relationships because of my own struggles with major depression and anxiety I don't want to be a burden on anyone

  • Reply Sisi Radulescu February 13, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    damn you are awesome.
    like.. you really understand this stuff.
    it helps.
    but, some people doesn't seek for help cause they don't want to change or to be better. i don't know how to explain. but some people are in their comfort zone like this. if there's too much happiness around them, if they're too many people around them, if too many people are trying to make them talk, they just close themselves.. i don't know how to explain this stuff.
    it's just.. some people doesn't want to be helped.

  • Reply Sisi Radulescu February 13, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    my boyfriend keeps telling me he cares and he wants to help but. he. does. nothing.
    and he think he helps just because i realised i should stop teling him how i feel.
    he can't understand. and i bet he's sick of my depression already.

  • Reply TubbzDeltaCross February 13, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    I can honestly say I wish I had known the most of this back when I when I was dating my ex. He has depression and these things weren't set. I was impatient and didn't try enough to help him. I tried to understand him but not his condition. Thanks for future reference, you're amazing and keep up the videos. We love you.

  • Reply Jesse Pruett February 13, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    My girlfriend and I both have depression and even though I'm going through the same things as her I just didn't know exactly how to help her along with myself. Thanks for the video

  • Reply LikeKristen February 13, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    If you are suffering with a mental health problem and you think it's time to talk to your partner about it, here is a video I made last year on the subject: https://youtu.be/AWIaQhznpWw

  • Reply Ash Maly February 13, 2017 at 4:23 pm

    please talk about Bulimia, it is something i suffer with and would like a way to explain it to my family so i can hopefully get better and have them better understand it

  • Reply Rose Tannahill February 13, 2017 at 7:49 pm

    i met my boyfriend today , we met online and it was unreal i'm really happy , we both have depression ect so i really needed this video

  • Reply Robert Therobot February 13, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    Simply listening and being listened too is a very powerful thing. Specially when communicating can be very difficult with mental illnesses

  • Reply SarahsPlanningLife February 14, 2017 at 6:40 am

    Thank you for this. I'm lucky to be in a relationship with someone who helps me through my rough times but this is still helpful.

  • Reply Caterpillarowly February 14, 2017 at 9:08 am

    This is such an important topic to talk about!
    I myself have gone through a very difficult relationship with both me and my now ex suffering from mental illnesses.
    It took me forever to realise that I was burdening my partner with things he shouldn't have had to deal with to such an extent that it started destroying our relationship….and vice versa.
    As Kristen already said; you need to take care of your own mental health!
    The goal is to get better together and not suffer together. Oh and remember that a partner IS NOT A THERAPIST ?

  • Reply Hayley February 14, 2017 at 11:39 am

    This could be a really useful video, thank you. As someone who has anxiety and depression and is in a relationship, I appreciate this video. I've been with my boyfriend for nearly 3 months, and he knows about my issues. We'd been friends for a couple of years so I really trusted him and told him shortly before we got together and then explained further shortly into our relationship. I wanted him to know early on, and while supporting myself I am also making sure to support him when I tell him about my illnesses. That may seem weird, but having been faced with close friends struggling with mental illness and having it myself, I know that it can be painful and difficult to deal with.
    He's really caring about it and does a lot of little things that make me smile and I don't even know if he realizes.

  • Reply Imperfect Animal February 17, 2017 at 2:08 am

    I have severe depression, suicidal thoughts and social anxiety. I don't know who to tell my problems to. I think I might die before I'm 20 and I'm 14 right now.

  • Reply Magdaléna Firlová February 17, 2017 at 5:42 am

    I'm sending this to my boyfriend.. he doesn't know what is it like to suffer from depresion.. I'm scared I'll take him with me down.. and I don't want to do that… thank you ?

  • Reply Savannah February 17, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Kill me!!! I hate myself so much. I would kill myself but my mom is in the other room and I'm such a scaredy cat to do it myself. I wish someone would just do it for me or that I would just die in my sleep so I wouldn't have to feel pain. People think I'm better but I'm not I stayed at the hospital last week because of my suicidal thoughts but that didn't help. They thought I didn't have depression but that was probably because I didn't tell them the whole story and I didn't want to talk about my depression at all. I feel like I'm a failure and that I should just grow up and deal with it. I wish I was dead. If your wondering what depression feels like it feels like your constantly drowning or your in a hole and you can't get out and no one can hear you. Why do people care about me when I'm so messed up in the head? I feel like I'm wasting every ones time and that I would be doing a favor if I was dead. For everyone who read this all thank you.

  • Reply whizzer deserves better February 18, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    For LikeKristen:
    Ok so this has nothing to do with this video, but I wanted you to see this so you could maybe reply 🙂 Do you know much about DID? Could you maybe do a video on it? I know you mostly talk about depression and such, but I used to self-harm because of my DID, and I think it would be a nice topic to see on your channel 🙂 (also, I'm a week clean from self-harm 😀 )

  • Reply R A February 22, 2017 at 8:44 am

    I am suicidal and I am getting help but two of my good friends who know about it are ignoring me cause we got into a fight. I wrote them this stupid letter telling them that they don't understand me and that they should stop bothering me but I didn't mean it that way. Now she doesn't even talk to me and every time I see her at school I don't know what to do cause it breaks my heart. She made fun of me being bipolar and she doesn't understand that all that I am going through is very hard for me. Even if she comes back to me now I will forgive her and take her back. But she's the one who needs to take me back. I don't know what to do about this whole situation with my friends. They were the ones that would make me feel better when I was cutting and going through hard times. I still am. Now I am 2 weeks clean but my anxiety and depression are still pretty bad and I have need skipping school a lot. I really love my friends and this whole situation is my fault and I really wanna get them back. I need some advice

  • Reply WhatsUpEarth February 24, 2017 at 4:08 am

    This is a great video but really should be called "how to help a partner with depression/anxiety" because you kind of jump right in to that forgetting about the more stigmatized mental illnesses. I know you didn't mean to and i love your vidéos it just came across a little like that to me.

  • Reply Stephanie may rose Kennedy February 24, 2017 at 8:48 am

    hi can you please do a video on , boys who have metal illness and who self harmed or try suicid because alot people think it just girl and they think boys are strong and dont suffer but they do suffer and they are sentive like girls , can you please get this out there for me please

  • Reply Dia X February 24, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    could you please do one for helping and supporting those with an addiction? i feel like that could help some people.

  • Reply Faith Ross February 26, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Do people with anxiety cut to calm down

  • Reply es February 26, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    i love this. i feel like my ex hates me because i need to take care of myself now.

  • Reply Your Worst Nightmare February 27, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Hello, your videos tackle dark, deep subjects but somehow you make them positive with your sunny personality. You have helped so many people. If I was a teacher I would literally educate people by watching your videos.

  • Reply allien K March 1, 2017 at 11:14 am

    could you make a Video on your opinion about "PRO mental illness/ mainly known as PRO ANA.
    I'd really like to hear your opinion about that disgusting side of social media… Cause I am torn into two views. obe being that it's just sick and disgusting and putting sooo many people in danger. and the other one being that even those pro people probably need help in one way or another..

  • Reply Charlotte Forrester March 1, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Today I went to my first therapy session to help cope with my depression, anxiety and self harm.

  • Reply kenau March 4, 2017 at 4:10 am

    Hey Kristen I'm not trying to be mean in this btw; I used to have a tooth gap sort of like yours and It really wrecked my self-esteem I wouldn't talk to people because I would be scared and uncomfortable about what they think, "dude your teeth have a gap" "no fucking shit" but I got braces and then my self-esteem and confidence like tripled. if this is like a problem for u u should get braces or something, idk

  • Reply Sinnamon Tongue March 7, 2017 at 2:53 am

    I don't know if you mentioned this before, but it would be cool if you talked about how a mental illness/disorder isn't always from a traumatic event, because for some people it just runs in their family, ya know? (Again I don't know if you talked about this) You know how people ask you, "What happened?" But sometimes nothing actually happened…you could talk about that too. 🙂

  • Reply Madi G March 7, 2017 at 3:02 am

    needed this

  • Reply Santy Valens Snow March 7, 2017 at 6:36 am

    Just gonna leave a comment here for anyone to reply to if they want to vent. I like hearing others out. So yea.

  • Reply Chris6661 March 7, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    You should really have crowd-sourcing subtitles on, I'd gladly type up & sync up some for your videos.

  • Reply MrsLovelyShadow dariaa1oo March 7, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    please make a video about calling the suicidal hotline i am scared and sometimes i want to it but i hearde that they call the police

  • Reply Corven March 10, 2017 at 9:18 am

    can you spread awareness of explosive head disorder?

  • Reply I'mNotMe March 12, 2017 at 4:32 am

    I have a really difficult relationship. I'm lesbian and my girlfriend and I struggle with mental illness including depression, we've been together for 3 years but we still trying and trying, and everyday is like a war. We have very nice days and we are kinda happy together that's why we keep trying, I just feel I can't live without her, but sometimes I feel I neither can live with her. I'm really struggling with this every day and I don't know what to do, cuz sometimes we can be the biggest support but other times we just hurt each other… as I said, is very difficult and I can't express it all here, but I just wish I could handle it.

  • Reply Maja Kosa March 13, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    Today a boy in my school Just walked up to me, pointed at my arm and asked "Do you self harm?" How rude is that? I mean seriously
    Also this is my 3rd clean day and I'm really proud of myself

  • Reply Billie Bwee March 15, 2017 at 6:26 am

    I've been having a problem with self harm, and severe suicidal thoughts for about a year and I have a girlfriend now. I really care about her and I completely trust her and I want to tell her about my mental state but I don't know how to tell her. I really want to tell her about my mental state and i want to tell her that I think i might be experiencing ptsd from something that happened a few years ago but I'm afraid to tell her. I just don't want to make her feel like I depend on her helping me through this.

  • Reply Keith Przechocki March 16, 2017 at 10:16 am

    thank you Kristin , for all that you do , God bless you always

  • Reply callmeky March 18, 2017 at 5:53 am

    I really like your videos and your content is always really well though out and intriguing. I was wondering if you could, or were planning on in the future, making videos about mental illnesses other than depression or anxiety, like OCD or ADHD.

  • Reply Adira McNally March 30, 2017 at 5:00 am

    This is so helpful 🙂 My girlfriend has severe anxiety and I'm always looking for ways to be a better source of support for her.

  • Reply Linnea westberg April 10, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    thank you
    i wish i watched it and not just added it to the watch later list when i stumbled upon it when it was new..

  • Reply Amanda Spencer April 13, 2017 at 9:20 am

    Okay I know you probably don't respond to your comments but you have very pretty teeth 🙂

  • Reply James Falkner May 20, 2017 at 11:32 am

    My sister and I have both had to look after our parents, my dad has a physical disability, while my mum has bipolar and paranoid schizophrenia. Its been really hard, because as much as we try she constantly fights us. Remember people some people will fight you and you need to be prepared for having to explain what you are seeing as well as finding out what is going on inside their head.

  • Reply KpopManiac4Life January 24, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    Honesty, I'm not holding my breath for a guy that can handle my anxiety. Like even my close loved ones get overwhelmed sometimes, let alone a stranger.

  • Reply Laura J-UK September 10, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    My boyfriend is struggling so much, he's gone into a dark hole, won't communicate, no texts, phone calls and has now stopped me from visiting him. Feel like my hands are tied. I've sent supportive texts each day up to this point. He won't speak to anyone, won't talk to his family or his friends and I'm the only one who knows about it and it's hard. What should I do? in the few texts i've had back he's said he doesn't like ignoring my messages, sorry for what he's putting me through and he's worrying about me. But he wants to just have space. How can I support him if he's shutting me out? What do I do?

  • Reply Colton Wilder November 12, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    My fiance has bpd and she is currently taking time to gather her thoughts. It has been tough not being able to talk but I know she and I are good I just really miss her. She has tried leaving due to her bpd but I wont give up on us. I'm here for the long run to help and support her through it all.

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