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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    My boyfriend is clinically depressed, how can I help him?

    Related Topic
    He's been having a particularly rough couple of months and has been feeling worthless, overwhelmed, suicidal and soul suckingly miserable. He's often come to me admitting that he's struggling or that he hates being alive and he's been incredibly open in the past. Having been through depression myself, I can appreciate just how hard it is and have tried to be as supportive as I possibly can. I know that saying "the world is a wonderful place, it's worth sticking around for" or that "things will get better!" isn't always going to help, and that sometimes being told 'everything'll be fine' can make you feel worse so I've just tried to be supportive and listen. He's been pretty reclusive these last 3 weeks (understandably) and I've been mindful to give him time/space but I feel like now it's affecting our relationship. I want to know if there's anything I can do for him/with him in the mean time. Any suggestions, especially anything that'll help us get by day by day would be really great.
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  • 1


    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

    It sounds like you're doing well in giving your boyfriend time and space. Depression is hard on relationships! I don't know if your boyfriend is receiving help yet for depression? It may be helpful to give him some information about where to get help - online resources may be a good place to start; some good ones include Beyond Blue and Headspace (for people under 25 years). They also have good resources for family and friends - check out or It's important that you take good care of yourself as well. It isn't easy caring about someone who is depressed. This may mean taking time out with other friends, talking to someone, or learning more yourself about depression, so you have an understanding of what is happening. The above links have more of this information. All the best.

  • Bella Treglia

    HealthShare Member

    Hi Vivienne,

    Thank you so much for getting back to me. 

    It is my understanding that he has seen numerous counsellors/psychologists these last few years (since his first diagnosis) and that he is still seeing one now. His family are continually looking for new information that might help them - and him - so I'm not concerned in that regard at least. 

    As for me, I've been seeing a counsellor for the last 8 years and have a great network of friends and family who I can depend on. I'm not concerned for myself, because after having experienced depression and having (thankfully) pulled through, I know what I can/must do to look after myself. And I can say with certainty and conviction that "I'm ok". 

    Im not worried about me, but I'm (naturally) worried about my partner and about our relationship. His depression seems to come in waves: he'll feel functional, sociable, and have a generally good time for a few months in a row (with the help of medication) and then for a few months he'll feel swamped, medication or no medication. There's no helping it it seems. 

    What I'd really, really appreciate is any tips on how we could manage when he's feeling swamped. Because as much as I'd love to spend every waking moment with him and go about our lives as per usual, the reality is we can't because he feels so miserable. Any tips or ideas that would:

    A) help us get by on a daily basis

    B) also give him the time/space he needs

    C) help him even the slightest bit in terms of improving his frame of mind or his mentality

    D) manage to do any of that before the antisocial/reclusive aspect of his depression leaves a major mark in our relationship

    would be greatly appreciated. While this is not my first time dealing with depression, it's my first time dealing with it as someone's partner; as someone's support system. And I just want to know what I can do to help him AND help our relationship.

    I'm in this for the long haul and in terms of keeping this relationship of our strong/steady, I need all the help/assistance/suggestions I can get.

    Thanks again, I truly appreciate the feedback.

  • 2


    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

    These sound like really important concerns Bella, but well beyond the scope of what can be talked about in general terms here. My suggestion is that you may benefit from relationship counselling to work through both perspectives about the impact of depression on your relationship, and developing strategies to help you navigate these better as a couple. This may need to include negotiating how both your needs and his can be throught about to sustain your relationship over the long haul. It's good to hear that both of you are receiving individual support as well - getting all the help you can is always a smart move! All the best. 

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