When a friend’s partner is struggling with depression or anxiety, asking for help is not the only way to help.
And a new study shows that it’s not always easy to find the right people to ask.
“We know there are lots of people who get the message that it is too hard for them to find a therapist, and are frustrated,” says Jennifer Eriksen, a clinical psychologist at the University of Western Australia.
Eriksens research, published in the Journal of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, shows that some people, especially people who have been treated for depression, have trouble understanding how to seek help.
“If they don’t have the right tools to ask a friend for help, they might say it’s just too hard,” she says.
Emsen says people who are struggling with mental health issues often don’t understand why they’re experiencing negative feelings or how to manage them.
“Some people may have difficulty connecting with others, and they feel isolated and alone,” she explains.
“And if they don�t have the skills to help someone with mental illness, they may feel as if they�re not really helping and don�re just blaming others for their difficulties.”
Depression is a common and serious mental illness.
It can affect anyone.
It is associated with a range of negative symptoms, including mood swings, thoughts of suicide and substance abuse.
“Depression is a serious illness and people with depression need to be treated with the same attention and care as people with anxiety,” says Eriksnes study co-author Dr. Lisa Fries, a psychiatrist at the Centre for Health Research and Evaluation.
Etsuko Akai, who has a partner with bipolar disorder, is a former psychiatric nurse who is now working with a psychotherapist.
Akai says she struggles with anxiety and depression.
“When I have the flu, I get really worried about being sick,” she said.
Akaei has struggled with depression for many years.
In her 20s, she developed a problem with bipolar illness and went on a depressive medication binge.
When Akaeis bipolar disorder came back, Akai struggled with the depression.
But her depressive symptoms disappeared.
“I didn’t have any issues,” she explained.
“It was just a normal, normal feeling that I could have if I didn�t go to the doctor.”
Akaeii then went to a psychologist, who helped Akaeiai develop a strategy for dealing with her bipolar symptoms.
“She saw the positive changes I was getting, and she said, ‘I think you need to go and get help,'” Akaeie said. She didn�ts know what to do next, so she started seeing a psychiatrist.
Akaiai’s doctor told her she needed to talk to a psychiatrist and ask to see a therapist.
“The first thing she told me was, ‘You need to get professional help, because you are in the wrong place,'” Akaii said.
The therapist then recommended a psychotherapy program that was a little out of the ordinary for Akaeiges doctor.
“But that program was the best thing she could do,” Akaiis doctor said.
“That’s when she realised she needed professional help.”
Akaiiais doctor recommended Akaeai to a licensed mental health professional.
“They went through my entire history and everything and saw what the problem was, what was the problem and then they saw me and I went through it all again,” Akaeiy says.
“So that was my first professional help.
It was really great, and I am a bit proud of myself.”
Akaeais doctor also referred her to a counsellor who has been working with her for years.
“What I have noticed is that they really work really hard with me, they have really good knowledge and they have been able to help me,” Akaiam says.
Akaeaiais psychologist told Akaeiel to take time to process her feelings, to try to understand why she was feeling the way she was, and to have a clear idea of what was going on in her mind.
“He gave me a plan to deal with my mental health and I was very happy,” Akaima says.