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Only one out of three individuals with depression seek the help they need, a number that may be improved by increased partner intervention.
That’s according to research conducted by psychiatrist Dr. Mark S. Komrad, MD, who has been looking at the connection between depression and relationship partners. Komrad links the low percentage of depressed individuals actually seeking help to cultural concerns surrounding self-reliance. According to Komrad, conceptions of self-reliance lead depressed individuals to consider seeking help as a dependent action.
Additionally, many individuals with mental issues (such as depression) are unable to recognize their illness on their own.
“Partners can play a big role in a
depressed individual’s path to mental health.”
For these reasons, Komrad’s research emphasizes the importance of relationships in a depressed individual’s life. Komrad states that families, friends and relationship partners need to take an active role in both amateur diagnosis and encouraging depressed individuals to seek the help they need.
Unfortunately, the same social cues that praise “self-reliance” encourage individuals to remain quiet regarding mental illness issues within their relationship partners, for fear of “meddling” or intimating perceptions of weakness, according to Komrad.
Individuals, both those suffering and those in relationships with the depressed, need to overcome these concerns, said Komrad.
If you suspect your relationship partner may suffer from depression, be on the lookout for warning signs including frightening behavior, increased temper, poor impulse control, thinking difficulties, intense negative feelings, degradation of social skills, inability to satisfactorily perform work, and recent experiences of trauma.
If your relationship partner demonstrates these warning signs, you can approach them with empathy and understanding and strongly encourage your partner to seek therapy.
Komrad recommends addressing and dismissing social concerns related to depression and to personally eliminate walls to the individual’s treatment, including scheduling and even paying for their first session.