Note to Husbands: Guidelines for seeking help

Note to Husbands: Guidelines for seeking help

-If your wife is struggling with depression, and you think you both can get through this easily, without professional help, you are probably mistaken.

-If you think getting professional help means one of you or both are weak, get over it. There’s way too much going on right now for you to allow misguided stereotypes we all grew up with, to interfere with your wife getting the help she needs.

-Time parameters vary, but if you notice things are not getting better, or getting worse, it’s a good indication that help is needed.

-If she says it’s time to get help — yet you feel you have no other indications — it’s time to believe her and get help.

-How you feel about the value of therapy, psychiatrists, therapists, emotional illness, etc., is almost irrelevant. I say almost, because, of course it enters into this picture and will affect how you perceive what’s going on. But unless you decide right now to give that up and proceed with finding good, professional help, recovery will take longer. I can almost guarantee that.

-What you want is a good psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker or other therapist who specializes in the treatment of depression and/or women’s issues.

-Ask for a referral from her doctor or midwife, her doctor, or a close friend. A personal referral from someone you both trust, increases the likelihood that you will match well with this person. That doesn’t mean that finding a name on a website will lead you astray. In fact, I would suggest you try that, if you don’t have any other sources of referral. It just means you may start this process with less skepticism and a bit of faith in the process.

Other places to go for referrals are:

-Many local hospitals have Women Centers and have access to private practitioners who they refer to and trust.

-If your wife is breastfeeding, ask her to check out a breastfeeding support group in your area. They are wonderful sources of support and often are well-connected to professionals in the area.

-Search the Internet, of course. There are many websites dedicated to the treatment of depression in general and others that are specifically geared toward postpartum illnesses. Check parenting and baby-related sites, then search for postpartum depression or anxiety.

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