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Help treating depression
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welcometotheclub posted:
Hi everyone, I'm new to posting in any types of forums. I really need help in helping my boyfriend of five years. He is 23 and recently lost his closest friend in a motorcycle accident. It's been a few months now, but lately he has been getting more and more moodier. He says that he's afraid of death. It is really affecting his everyday life. I have never had family who are dealing with depression. I don't know how to help him or what to say. I try different things but it doesn't seem to work. It gets worse when he is alone and I'm out of town (since I usually keep him busy). I'm need help finding the right type of counselor. I am also thinking of going to church with him (as we haven't in a while and he's expressed interest in doing so). I would really appreciate any help/tips/etc....
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susiemargaret responded:
hello, W --

i am so sorry i didn't see your post until now, and i hope you are still following this thread. the amount of traffic in this community makes it very easy for a post to fall beyond the first page, and then it gets less and less likely to be seen.

let me ask first if your boyfriend is willing to consider counseling. if he is not, there is no way you can "make" him do it. of course, you can encourage him to try it, "just for a session or two," to see if he thinks it might help, and you might even offer to go with him to his first apptmt, but it is not your job to try to counsel him instead or to interview various counselors or to make the apptmt(s) for him. he has to be willing to take responsibility for his own health; that doesn't mean you can't help, naturally, but try to remember that this is his problem and not yours. that being said, here are some ideas for either of you to follow up on (or perhaps you could divide up the kinds of searching for prospective names).

i'm not sure what you mean by finding "the right kind of counselor." psychiatrists have a medical degree and can prescribe meds; most deal primarily with meds mgt any more, but some still provide therapy (see PS1). psychologists have a ph.d. and provide therapy but cannot prescribe meds (PS2). psychiatric nurse practitioners have graduate training in psychiatry, can provide therapy, and can prescribe meds. clinical social workers have graduate training in counseling but cannot prescribe meds. and often religious leaders have training in counseling, but they cannot prescribe meds.

as for finding specific counselors to consider, ask everyone you know for a recommendation if you are comfortable doing so. ask your or your boyfriend's primary-care dr or any other kind of dr either of you has or knows. ask your or his lawyer. ask your or his religious leader. ask any teachers or school personnel whom you trust. call the legal aid office to see if they have a list of recommended counselors.

if you or your boyfriend has health ins, ask for a list of the mental health practitioners in their network (keeping in mind that the drs in his network are preferable because they might be covered by his ins, whereas the drs in your network might not be). if your boyfriend's employer has an employee assistance program as part of his benefits, he might be eligible for several counseling sessions thru that program.

look for clinics at nearby large hospitals, medical schools, divinity schools, and university graduate programs in psychology, nursing, and social work. see if any hospitals near you have a social worker; often they have very extensive knowledge of their own and other hospital and community resources.

i have one other suggestion. whether or not your boyfriend agrees to try therapy and/or meds, it might be helpful for you to try a few counseling sessions. this is because his problems are obviously affecting your life as well as his and because your frustration with his situation may eventually lead to resentment or even anger on your part. in addition to giving you an emotionally safe place to talk about your day-to-day problems, counseling could provide you with objective feedback on your own options and some ideas for coping strategies that you might not have considered.

finally, if you call somewhere and they cannot help you, ask if there is someone else they can recommend.

i send many caring thoughts and hope that you will keep us posted on how the both of you are doing.

-- susie margaret

PS1 -- by "therapy" i include treatment for depression but also grief counseling, which sounds like part of what your boyfriend might need some help with.

PS2 -- those counselors who cannot prescribe meds (psychologists, clinical social workers, and religious leaders) often have a working relationship with someone who can prescribe them and to whom your boyfriend could be referred for an assessment of whether a short-term course of meds might be worth trying.
what good is gold, or silver too, if your heart's not good and true -- hank williams, sr.


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