Information for mental health professionals:
Focusing on your clients' support system

Everybody wins when a patient's support system is also supported. The partner has more of the time, energy and resilience required, which means your client is better supported in their daily life, allowing you to concentrate on getting the best possible outcomes for the client.

​​My story

When my partner was signed off work with stress caused by a number of factors the support from the psychiatrist and psychologist was outstanding, but that was a couple of hours a week at most. For the rest of the time I was the main support, and that took its toll on me. I felt overwhelmed and never knew whether I was doing the right thing or not and constantly put my partner's needs above mine. This led to a downward sprial of me being tired and edgy, trying to make up for that by doing more for them and ending up more tired and frustrated. It was not the best environment for someone struggling with their mental health.
Eventually I found myself in tears after a small thing had tipped me over the edge and I looked for advice. There wasn't a lot available and some of what I found was completely irrelevant. I finally realised that what I needed was to trust in myself and what I was doing, to accept that I was doing the best I could and above all to look after myself. Once I started doing this I was more relaxed, in a better position to provide the support that was needed.

Other people supporting partners with mental health issues

Since then I have spoken to other people, mostly women, whose partners suffer from a range of mental health issues: anxiety, depression, bipolar, PTSD, eating disorders. The conditions, symptoms and effects may be different but they all have a common factor: something "more" is required of the partner - more time, more emotional energy, more of the daily routine. And no matter how much someone wants to be the absolute best possible support so a partner with mental health challenges, it can be difficult and the partner needs their own support.

Focusing on your patient's support network

In many cases the supporting partner will have friends and family will provide a listening ear and perhaps advice and help. However friends and family may not understand all that's going on, the extra pressures, the emotional turmoil and practical demands. It can also be difficult to fully open up to loved ones for many reasons, including not wanting to burden them, a sense of disloyalty to the partner and a fear of judgement.

As a qualified coach I offer partners an independent support of their own based on my own experience and a coaching approach. Through one-to-one sessions, group workshops, working with me provides:

 + Tools and techniques to develop strategies to take back control

 + Resilience in the face of conflicting priorities

 + A safe, relaxed, supportive and enjoyable space

 + An understanding of the importance of looking after themselves and ways to do so.

After putting plans made during workshops in place, participants have reported back that they felt more relaxed, handled difficult situations more calmly, and had more time to spend on fun activities - all of which lead to a more amenable home environment, which was better for everyone.

 

Get in touch

Find out more about how working with me can support your patients' support networks

If you would like to discuss how I work with supporting partners, the benefits to everyone and how we could work togther, please send me your contact details and I will be in touch as soon as I can

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What clients have said

Basket of flowers

Fiona provided a unique safe sharing space in which to relax with others, to learn from insightful content which was delivered and facilitated with a lovely, understanding manner. I hadn’t expected to have such fun in the group setting, but she offered time, blending discussions of serious life “stuff” with smatterings of creative exercises, food for thought and encouragement. Her 1:1 coaching sessions were also an opportunity to delve into finding ways forward in practical ways. It’s great to be able to think differently about the life issues we discussed.

Fiona’s programme has offered me so much support at a crucial time. Thank you Fiona.

Karen