Seeking professional help for you or your partner
If you are concerned that your partner is experiencing depression or anxiety, offer to accompany them to the GP or maternal child health nurse. Seeking professional help will benefit your health, the healthy development of your baby, and your relationship. Remember:
- Depression is not voluntary
- Depression isn’t something you can just “snap out of”.
- Untreated anxiety can impact on the pregnancy and your baby.
- Seeking help early will contribute to a quicker recovery.
It is common for people with depression and anxiety not to recognise that they need help or support, so they may reject offers of help.
Your partner may avoid help seeking because of a wide range of worries or concerns such as:
- Not wanting to acknowledge that they are not coping
- Not wanting to acknowledge that their illness may be harmful to the baby
- Feeling embarrassed or ashamed
If your partner initially refuses to go to the GP, go to the doctor for information and advice by yourself. There are also support groups available for families affected by perinatal depression and anxiety.
Take your partner seriously if they talk about not wanting to live or about harming themselves
One way you can do this is by letting your partner know that you understand their feelings are real to them, no matter how bad or unreasonable they sound. Seek professional help immediately (e.g., go to your local emergency department) if you or your partner:
- Are having thoughts of suicide or harming themselves or the baby
- Are acting in an unusual or bizarre way, e.g., being extremely withdrawn or fearful, or hearing or seeing things that others can’t.
If you are concerned about your partner’s mental health, risk conflict with them in the short term by getting help for them, particularly if the well-being of your baby is at risk. If your partner is admitted to a hospital, make the most of visiting times to maintain contact with them and the baby.
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