Got a burning question about mental health difficulties? Want non-professional, peer-to-peer advice? Look no further, this feature will appear every month and invites readers to send in questions regarding mental health for tips and advice*. My name is Leanne and I have both specialist training and personal experience in mental health and will aim to provide user-friendly, non-professional advice to anyone who asks for it!
How to ask:
Please send your questions to: [email protected]
*Please note not all questions will be answered, and all will be posted anonymously. If you are seeking urgent or professional advice, please see our contact list at the end of this sub-section.
Q. What can I do to support my partner who is suffering with an anxiety disorder?
A: I would suggest educating yourself around their condition, reading up on signs and symptoms in order to fully appreciate and support them. I believe in the power of talking, so if you’re able to help your partner to explore the potential reasons for their anxiety this could be really helpful for them. You could always try to do some self-care activities together; listening to music, going for a walk or bike ride, massages, going for meals etc. It’s super important to try and recognise when your partner may need professional support, and to aid and support them through this.
Q. What can I do if the support being given to me doesn’t help?
A: With any intervention there is no guarantee that it is going to work for everyone, we are all very different and unique individuals and no mental-health care is linear. I would suggest to have an open and honest conversation with whomever it is providing you with that support; they will most likely appreciate and respect your honesty. Without discussing this you cannot guarantee that you will be offered any other support – the person providing you with this is most likely not a mind reader and works on your feedback.
Q. Is there any way that I can avoid having a mental health problem?
A: I would say yes but no. Some people believe that mental health conditions are hereditary, some think that they are environmental, and some believe it can be a mixture of both. What we do know is that day to day life can have catastrophic impacts on our mental health and therefore we all need to look after ourselves. Self-care is super important and not many of us practice this enough, we are all so rushed off our feet or busy thinking of other people; to find five minutes of time is easier than we think. Pause when you are on your phone and instead of scrolling social media, practice meditation for 5 minutes, or enjoy that soak in the bath for 5 more minutes.
Q. How do I take care of my own mental health when others around me are also mentally unwell?
A: I believe in supporting one another, however you have to find the correct balance. Without the correct balance we can forget to look after ourselves which then makes supporting others even more difficult. You can support others subtly or at a length where you are able to manage your own health. Recognising your limits is key to this! Another key factor is recognising what triggers you have; other people’s mental health can sometimes remind us of our own mental health difficulties which can make us feel rubbish.