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5 Tips For Being in a Relationship With Someone Who Has a Mental Illness

2 November 2016 | Post A Comment

I know that being close to someone who has mental health difficulties can be very hard. Not because I have experienced it much myself but because I've seen the faces of my family when they don't know what else to try and the face of my boyfriend when I've done something stupid to hurt myself, again. It's difficult for families, it's difficult for friends but I think it can often be most difficult and consuming for those who find themselves in a relationship with someone who is mentally ill. I think most people who suffer with their mental health understand that those who care about them are doing their best. We appreciate you, we understand that you are trying and that sometimes you won't get it right, and that's ok. I've put together a list of some ways you may not have thought of to help the person you love.

1. When they are having a bad day, nine times out of ten, it's not your fault- Try not to obsess over the reasons why, try not to worry about what you've done wrong or why they seem distant. If you really feel like it might be something you've done, ask them once and believe them.

2. Give them space- If you feel like everything you say is annoying them, you might be right, but only because they are feeling so anxious or depressed, everything is annoying them. This is probably a good time to let them know where you are if they need you and give them some time to themselves. 

3. Reassurance- Someone with a mental health condition probably has low self esteem and they are probably not very good at believing their own self-assurance. If you want to help, try to remind them that they are loved, important and safe.

4. Listen- Even when they don't make sense and you don't understand, take the time to ask questions and really listen to the answers.

5. Be open about your own problems- Mental illnesses can make people selfish. You probably find yourself asking your partner how they are doing more than they ask about you.  But when they do ask, be open. You need caring for too, and they probably care about you more than you think. It will also give them some much needed time away from their own difficulties whilst they are focussing on yours.

Have you ever had to care for someone who is mentally ill? Do you have any other advice for others who might be struggling? 

"It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do.” -Stephen Fry


  1. I have been in 2 relationships with girls who had a mental illness and one where I did so I know what it's like from either perspective and I'm still not sure which side it is harder for. If the other person has the illness then you can feel like nothing you do is ever right because you can't make them happy but then if they are having a good day then they are really grateful for everything you do and it is great to be around them. But being the one with the illness you feel guilty for not being any fun and not wanting to leave the house or do anything but then when you have a good day you just think "why can't I be like this all the time" and end up hating yourself again. So it is really difficult being on either side

  2. Definitely. I don't think anything can compare to actually having the illness but its undeniably difficult being on the other side. I think people who are in relationship with someone with a mental illness are so selfless and amazing. The ill person has no choice in being ill but the other person doesn't have to be so deeply affected by the illness but yet they choose to stay anyway.

  3. Great post Beth! This all resonates with me. Because I am so sensitive I have many days where I get low and many days when I get anxious. It takes a strong person to love someone going through mental health challenges, but it also takes a strong person to go through those challenges. My best tip of advice for anyone living with anxiety or depression who is also in a relationship is to get familiar with your triggers and find ways of mitigating them without needing your partner. I've had to learn the hard way that partners aren't excuses to not take care of yourself. I'm excited to follow your blog journey and congrats on 1000 followers on Instagram!! ❤️

  4. Thank you for sharing so much truth and honesty in your comment Robin. You're right that you should be able to look after yourself without depending on a parter. Someone's mental health should never depend on someone else. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to leave a thoughtful comment, it means a lot. Welcome to All Things Beautiful! xxx

  5. I really loved this post Beth, I think its' great for people to read and pass on. I'm definitely going to be showing this to my boyfriend tonight because he always says it's definitely hard to know what to do in the situations when I am most anxious :)