The longer a couple spends together, the more they tend to know about each other, including their partner’s likes, fears, and behaviors.
Usually, when an individual isn’t acting like their ‘normal’ self, that individual’s life partner is the first to observe the change.
If you’ve noticed peculiar behaviors in your partner recently, you might be concerned about his/her/their mental health.
Many individuals who are concerned about their partner might not be able to put their concerns into words, or might not know how to approach the issue.
Let’s examine mental health issues, warning signs to watch out for, and tips you can follow if you’re concerned about your partner’s mental wellbeing.
The Range of Mental Health Issues
Mental health issues are diverse and can manifest in different ways, both with seemingly sudden onsets, and ones that slowly grow over time.
Because there are so many conditions that can impact mental health, there are also a lot of issues they can cause, far beyond the poorly-represented way that TV and movies portray mental health issues.
Mental health conditions can affect the mood, like in cases of clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder.
These conditions can also affect an individual’s personality, behavior, and perception of reality.
Every person is unique, and as such, the manifestation of mental health issues will be unique as well.
Symptoms of Mental Health Issues
Fortunately, there are several warning signs to watch out for. If you’re concerned about your partner’s mental health, keep an eye out for any of the following behaviors to better help you monitor the situation.
- Significant changes in mood. These changes can appear as prolonged sadness or irritability, or rapid-cycling highs and lows (energetic and happy one moment and sad the next, for example). Excessive stress, fear, or preoccupation may be another change to note.
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns. These changes may relate to how often or how long your partner sleeps, how much they’ll eat, or what type of food they’ll avoid/permit.
- Withdrawal from hobbies and friends. If your partner is generally an active, social person, withdrawing from activities they enjoy and friends they cherish is concerning.
- Confusion or delusions. Your partner may be more forgetful, become frequently confused, or develop ideas that do not seem to make sense. Your partner may also think or say things that contradict reality, for example, believing that they’re being watched or followed.
- Self-harm or unexplained wounds. Your partner may be presenting with wounds that they claim to not know the origin of. Alternatively, you may actively catch your partner engaging in self-harm.
- Suicidal ideation or behaviors.
How Can I Help?
If you’re concerned about your partner’s mental health, the first logical step would be to discuss the matter with them.
When it’s safe to do so, have an open, judgment-free conversation about how your partner is feeling and what you can do to support them.
As a partner or spouse, you may be somewhat limited in your ability to provide help.
However, if your partner believes it to be beneficial for the two of you, you can engage in positive distraction techniques.
- Watch a movie or TV show together
- Take your partner for a leisurely walk
- Hug or massage your partner if they welcome physical contact
- Listen to music together
Above all else, it’s important to let your partner know you’re there for them, you’re available to talk, and you care for them.
Approaching the Topic of Therapy
Often, mental health issues go beyond the scope of help a partner can provide.
If you’d like your partner to seek the help of a licensed therapist, approaching the topic may be challenging.
To do so, try to be as understanding and accepting as possible, but mention that a professional will be better equipped to help your partner.
Mention therapy as a solution, just like you would suggest going to a general practitioner if your partner was experiencing a physical ailment.
A licensed therapist is experienced in helping individuals who are suffering from a variety of mental health issues.
They’re understanding, non-judgmental, and can provide valuable solutions that will aid your partner in managing their symptoms and working toward safe recovery.
When your partner feels ready, he/she/they can reach out and book an appointment with a licensed therapist.
Additionally, you as the concerned partner can contact a licensed therapist on your partner’s behalf.
If you’d like to seek support for your partner’s mental health needs, you’re welcome to contact our offices as soon as you’re ready. We’ve helped many people struggling with their mental health and we would be honored to help your partner, too.
Please feel free to reach out to us to set up a complimentary consult call so we can match you with the best therapist for your situation.