The following is advice for Partner, Parents, Friends etc.
It is important to be patient and sympathetic when supporting a sufferer. By educating yourself about the illness and its symptoms, you can avoid feeling frustrated or out of your depth during this time.
This illness can be a difficult and stressful time for family and friends. If you would like some advice or support when helping a sufferer please do ring us on 0207 386 0868.
The following are a few tips to help you through the stage when support is needed. Please remember that this situation is temporary and the illness will get better.
1. Offer her as much practical help as possible. Depression makes the sufferer feel extremely tired and small tasks feel like huge ones.
2. Let the mum express her feelings of anxiety and fear, even if she repeats herself.
3. Encourage the mum to talk freely and express her innermost fears without showing shock or amazement when she does so.
4. Try to offer consideration and sympathy for her in her predicament. Reassure her that she will recover, repeating this reassurance as often as you can.
5. Encourage the mum to have as much rest as possible.
6. Encourage and praise her when she makes a special effort.
7. Please encourage her to seek professional help, if she has not already done
so. You may need to go with her to see the GP etc.
8. Try to get out together, but never force the mum to do anything she doesn’t feel up to doing.
9. Avoid nagging or being negative as much as you can. Try to be patient and reassure the mum as much as you can.
10. Please try to avoid pointing out her shortcomings, unfinished jobs, unkempt appearance, lack of concentration etc.
11. It is unkind and unhelpful to say ‘Pull yourself together’ or ‘You don’t know how lucky you are’ or ‘There are lots worse off than you’. This is denying how awful it feels to be depressed.
12. Never leave her alone with the baby if you feel there is the slightest possibility of her doing any harm to the child or herself. This acute stage does not last long but special care may be needed while the illness is severe.
13.The mum is likely to have fears and worries that you feel are unreasonable, small things can worry or upset her greatly. This is a very common symptom and will fade as she recovers.
14. Don’t try to cope alone. You may find the present situation exhausting and stressful. Try to talk to a person or people that you trust about your own feelings as much as possible, but not to the mum. Accept offers of help from other people whom the mum trusts.
15. Try to remember that the mum is your wife/partner/girlfriend who is temporarily unwell, she is not just the mother of a baby.