It’s good that you want to help and support your girlfriend, but it’s important to remember only trained mental health professionals should be treating mental health disorders. If she has anxiety and depression, encourage her to seek professional help.
One way you can assist her is to research local mental health professionals. Read reviews, determine what insurance they take, what disorders they treat, their fees, and so forth. Encourage her to contact at least 4-5 over the phone. Given the pandemic, many mental professionals are conducting therapy via telehealth or telephone. A recent survey indicated that 75% of clinicians in their sample have switched to teletherapy. After switching, many therapists and clients are finding it convenient and flexible. They say they are likely to stick with it even after the pandemic. It can be particularly effective for disorders such as anxiety and depression.
It is very often the case that people with anxiety and depression don’t think they need professional help. They minimize the problem and are reluctant to seek help because they believe that they should be able to fix their own problems. Depression is not something that one can overcome through willpower or by simply “powering” through it. Often, when people try that way of doing things, their depression gets worse. With the right treatment, depression and anxiety can and often do improve.
Another way you can support your girlfriend is to learn more about depression and anxiety. You might already have some knowledge in this area, given that you said she helps you with your problems. There’s good information on the Internet about the disorder. Psych Central has great resources in this area.
If she’s not ready to talk about her conditions with you, that’s okay. Don’t pressure her. Use this opportunity to encourage her to seek professional help. Offer your assistance whenever possible. Highlight her positive qualities and do what you can to create a low-stress environment.
A good resource for you is the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). They provide programs and informative resources for individuals who are caring for a loved one with a mental illness. Many people find their support groups particularly helpful because they are comprised of others dealing with similar problems.
Your girlfriend may also benefit from other resources including faith-based organizations or other spiritual practices. Many people find that connecting with a higher power helps them to feel better on a day-to-day basis.
Most importantly, try to be patient with your girlfriend. Depression and anxiety are not something that can be cured overnight but the good news is, they are curable, with the right treatment. This is why it’s important to encourage her to begin treatment as soon as possible. Doing so will speed her recovery. Good luck with your efforts. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle