#AskAPsych: How Can I Be Supportive When Bae Has Depression?

#AskAPsych 👩🏾‍⚕️

Want to know more about mental wellness and tips on how to maintain yours? Meet Dr Nokulunga Shabalala, our resident Clinical Psychologist here to answer your questions related to mental health.

What to do when bae is going through some stuff? Dr Shabalala lets us know how to be there the best way you can be when your partner has depression.


Dr Lunga Shabalala

How to support your partner when they’re struggling with mental health? By being just that – supportive! Loved ones often become overwhelmed by their helplessness when someone close to them is suffering from depression and/or anxiety.

Don’t rush to be a saviour

The temptation is to try fixing or taking away the problem, and forgetting that depressed and anxious individuals often find it difficult to verbalise their experience. The trick is to meet them where they are (and perhaps mirroring their experience, e.g. ‘I can see this is so difficult for you’).

If they are expressing that they need closeness, then that is what you provide and without judgment (tip: judgmental statements include ‘Things could be worse’).

Expressing support by validating their experience is often helpful. Gently introduce the idea of seeking help, perhaps by encouraging them to talk to someone, like a psychologist, rather than forcing or tricking them into the consultation room.

Everybody’s different and that’s okay!

It is also important to note that individuals differ; therefore experiences of depression/anxiety will differ. This means that the kind of support needed will differ from individual to individual. While guidance from their psychologist will be helpful for you to know how to support them, try asking them what they need. This will also make them feel like their experience is valid and reasonable.

E-mail us your mental health questions to cosmopolitan@assocmedia.co.za, or tweet us your query using #AskAPsych


Akeso Clinics is a group of private in-patient psychiatric clinics that prides itself on providing individual, integrated and family-oriented treatment for a range of psychiatric, psychological and addictive conditions. Akeso Clinics offer specialised in-patient treatment facilities.

For more info:

  • Email: info@akeso.co.za or contact 011 447 0268

Need help?

  • Dial 0861 4357 87 for emergency assistance

Read more Health

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