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How to Support Your Partner Experiencing Depression

For someone who may be suffering from depression or another mental illness having the support of their loved one can play an important role in helping the with their treatment. It is estimated 17.3 million adults have experienced at least one major depressive episode in a year. Depression can feel isolating and negatively impact relationships. For individuals who have depression, having the support of their loved ones can make a huge difference in their treatment.

Experiencing sadness and grief are normal human emotions. These feelings usually go away within a few days. Symptoms must last at least 2 weeks before a doctor can diagnose depression. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. Symptoms of depression can include:

– Loss of interests in activities they previously enjoyed

– Changes in appetite or weight

– Change in sleeping patterns

– Loss of energy

– Trouble concentrating

– Feeling sad, worthless, or guilty

Educating yourself about depression can make it easier to support a loved one with this condition. If you note these symptoms in your significant other, validate their feelings. Tell them you are there for them. Be sure to listen to the person. You can’t cure their depression, but you can support them along the way to recovery. When someone is experiencing depression, it can cause a person to lose motivation, so giving them your support can play a major factor in their treatment. Support they may need could include:

– Setting up an appointment with a doctor to get help

– Encouragement to socialize

– A hug

– Taking them outside in nature

– Reminders to take medication

– Self-care ideas

– Exercising together

– Making healthy meals

– Creating healthy routines

– Setting small goals that are achievable

It is typical for a person suffering from depression to feel like they will get better with time, but this isn’t typically the case. You can help your significant other consider getting treatment by taking the following actions:

– Share symptoms you have noticed in them

– Express your concern

– Discuss what you have learned about depression

– Discuss available treatment options such as therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes

It’s important to note someone who is experiencing depression will have good days and bad days. Having the expectation that both bad and good days will happen, can help you deal with the bad days. Do not withdraw love or support during the bad days. Take care of yourself and do something you enjoy whether alone or with others. Caring for a loved one with depression can be draining, so allow yourself time for self-care. As a partner, you do not have all of the answers. That is okay. The best thing you can do is sit down, listen, and let your loved one know you here for them.


Jill Haupts, Outreach Coordinator for The Kim Foundation

Jill Haupts is the Outreach Coordinator at The Kim Foundation. She received her bachelor’s degree in Child, Adult, and Family Services from Iowa State University in 2016. Jill joined the Kim Foundation in January of 2020, coming from Des Moines, Iowa. Her previous experience includes volunteer recruitment and fundraising, as well as experience coordinating services and providing resources to adults who have a mental health diagnosis. Jill’s role in the foundation is coordinating event logistics, presenting and attending community fairs, as well as volunteer coordination and recruitment. She enjoys working in the nonprofit field and has a passion for advocacy and helping others.