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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    My husband I think is suffering severe depression what do I do?

    About a year ago he had a complete personality change, a caring, gentle and loving man has become aggressive, violent and completely disconnected from me and the kids. He has said he feels worthless we would be better without him and admitted he has had suicidal thoughts. He wants to leave the marriage, this would all be fine if I knew it wasn't really him, that for some reason he has lost his mind. We have had a stillborn daughter 20 months ago and I am unsure if this has been a trigger.
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    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    I am sorry to read that your husband is not in a good place. It is possible that his personality change partly reflects his grieving for your still-born daughter - grieving follows its own path and its own time - whatever is right for him is all that matters.

    Suicidal thoughts are not a good thing. However (this is *really* important), if his thoughts are ever combined with working out the details of a method/plan and telling you that he will carry out that plan then *all* that matters is that he is in a safe place. That means take him to A&E of your nearest hospital - there will be professionals there who can help.

    Apart from that, you could encourage him to talk with his GP. S/he will be able to draw up what is called a “Mental Health Care Plan” with him. That will give him a number of Medicare-subsidised sessions with mental health professionals (a clinical psychologist and/or a psychiatrist).

    With care.

  • 3


    I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    I'm wonderiing if your husband has been willing to get help? If so, the above suggestions provide excellent guidance about where to get that help.
    It is concerning that your husband has been aggressive and violent - while you have an understanding about the reasons this may have happened, violence is never OK, no matter what stresses are going on in our lives, and will be having a detrimental impact on your wellbeing. Children who are exposed to violence can experience significant and far-reaching effects on their health and development. 
    If your husband is reluctant to seek help - it could be important to let him know that doing so will benefit you and the kids, not just himself. 
    I would suggest that, if you have not already done so,  you also look at getting some support for yourself - you are dealing with a very difficult situation and you have also lost a child. It's important that you also have the space to grieve and mourn that loss.

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    Robyn Rowe

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Robyn is a clinical psychologist with a particular interest in mood disorders – depression, bipolar & schizoaffective disorders, ante & post natal depression – and … View Profile

    It is hard to say from the information given what may have triggered your husband's “personality change” and changed behaviour. It may well have been your stillborn child, and it seems that you have been unable to talk about this with him. Postnatal depression in men is often overlooked. Because his condition is severe and has been going on for 12 months he needs to see a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist for an assessment and diagnosis. Only then can it be determined what kind of treatment he needs. If it is a severe depression he most likely requires medication for a time which will assist him to then do some psychological work on whatever is bothering him. Best practice also will involve other family members as appropriate. Your first stop is the GP who will do an initial assessment and make the referral to the psychiatrist or clinical psychologist. This has not resolved itself in 12 months so I think that action should be taken now. I wish you all the best with this.

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