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Supporting A Partner Through Mental Health Challenges and Ketamine Therapy

Living with someone who is navigating mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or PTSD can be extremely challenging. While you may be in a stable mental state, understanding and supporting your partner as they undergo treatments like IV ketamine therapy can strengthen your relationship and contribute significantly to their healing process. Here’s some tips as to how you can be an empathetic and effective ally. 

1. Educate Yourself About Their Condition

The first step in supporting your partner is understanding their mental health condition. Educate yourself about their specific symptoms, triggers, and the nature of their disorder. This knowledge can help you communicate more effectively and avoid misunderstandings. Resources like books, reputable websites, and even consultations with mental health professionals can be invaluable.

2. Encourage Professional Help and Accompany Them

Support your partner in seeking professional help such as therapy or counseling. If they are undergoing specialized treatments like IV ketamine therapy, offer to accompany them to the clinic. Your presence can provide comfort and reassurance that they are not alone in their journey. In addition, two minds are better than one, so you may pick up on some tips and information from the mental health provider that they were not able to fully absorb in the session. We highly encourage partners to attend the initial welcome session of our patients' very first ketamine infusion appointment, so that they get a chance to meet Dr. Rivas and hear his introduction, where he addresses therapy protocol, recommends how to achieve optimal results and answers questions before beginning the treatment. Contact us for more information!

3. Consider Couples Therapy

Couples therapy can be particularly beneficial when one partner is dealing with mental health issues. It provides a safe space for both of you to express your feelings and concerns under the guidance of a professional, helping to strengthen your relationship and improve mutual understanding, rather than letting their mental health come between the two of you. Oftentimes when one partner has more challenging emotional needs, the other partner’s needs tend to get pushed aside. Couples therapy can provide you with a safe platform to discuss difficult topics.

4. Establish Healthy Routines Together

Engaging in healthy routines can significantly benefit your partner’s mental health. Here are a few key activities to consider:

  • Morning and Evening Light Exposure: Help regulate your partner’s biological clock by getting sunlight exposure together in the mornings and evenings. This can help your partner regulate their sleep cycle and get a better night’s rest. 
  • Regular Physical Activity: Gentle activities like walking or yoga can be very therapeutic. They not only improve physical health but also boost mental well-being and and can pave the way towards more robust exercise.
  • Wind-Down Routines: Establish a calming nighttime routine that might include reading, listening to soothing music, or practicing meditation together to promote better sleep. Simply drinking tea, stretching and chatting about your day can help soothe the mind and body in preparation for sleep. Opt for routines that build connection, rather than watching TV or endlessly scrolling on your phone. 

5. Maintain a Healthy Diet

Nutrition plays a crucial role in mental health. Take the lead in eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains which can influence mood and energy levels. The connection between the gut and the brain, often referred to as the gut-brain axis, is vital for mental well-being. The gut produces a large portion of the body's serotonin, a key neurotransmitter that affects mood and emotions. An unhealthy diet can disrupt this system, potentially exacerbating mental health issues and even inducing the onset of autoimmune disorders. By focusing on nutritious meals that support gut health, such as those high in fiber and fermented foods, you can help stabilize your partner's mood and overall sense of well-being, in addition to improving your own health and longevity along the way.

6. Plan Activities You Both Enjoy

Participate in activities that both of you find enjoyable and fulfilling. Whether it’s hiking, painting, gardening or listening to music, shared experiences can bring joy and a sense of normalcy to your partner’s life. Sometimes it may feel like pulling teeth to get your partner out the door, so remember to start small with short activities that help reduce stress, such as a quick walk on the beach or even just around your neighborhood park. A party or loud restaurant may be fun and simulating for you, however this may overwhelming for your partner.

7. Be Patient and Communicative

Patience is key when dealing with mental health disorders. Be open in your communication and encourage your partner to share their feelings and experiences. Listen actively and without judgment, showing that you value their thoughts and emotions. Communication can be particularly challenging for someone experiencing mental health issues, especially if their condition involves trauma. Trauma can affect how a person processes emotions and interacts in relationships, often making it hard to articulate feelings and needs. Understand that your partner may want to share, but their trauma is rendering them unable to do so. 

After experiencing trauma, part of the brain may "shut down" during stress or traumatic recall. The Broca's area, located in the frontal lobe of the brain, is primarily responsible for speech production and language processing. When a person experiences trauma, the brain’s typical response includes activating the fight-or-flight response, which is governed by the amygdala. This response can inhibit the functioning of the Broca's area, making it difficult for individuals to articulate their thoughts and feelings verbally. This mechanism can partly explain why those who have undergone traumatic events might struggle to speak about their experiences.

As a partner, it's important to recognize these difficulties and create a supportive environment that encourages open dialogue when they are ready. Be patient and give them space to share at their own pace, without pressure. Listening attentively and responding with empathy can help your partner feel safer and more understood, fostering healthier communication over time.

8. Make Them Feel Included and Valued

Ensure that your partner still feels included in decisions, activities, and everyday life. Small gestures like planning a surprise or simply spending time together can make them feel loved and important. Don’t give up. Although your partner may decline an invitation to join you on an outing nine times out of ten, that tenth opportunity to say yes may be just what they need.

9. Know Your Limits

While supporting your partner, it’s crucial to acknowledge your limits. Taking care of your own mental and emotional health is equally important. Don’t hesitate to seek support for yourself if you feel overwhelmed, and remember that you need to care for yourself before you can care for others. Set time aside for your own pursuits, outside friendships and self-care to maintain your own wellbeing and sense of fulfillment.

Find a local support group to meet others in similar situations.

10. Join Support Groups

Consider joining support groups where you can connect with others in similar situations. These groups provide an opportunity to share experiences, offer and receive real advice, and gain emotional support from peers who understand what you’re going through. Friends who have no experience with living and loving someone mentally unwell may not be able to fully understand your position, whereas finding a group of allies you can talk to may help lift some of the weight from your mind.


Supporting a partner with a mental health disorder requires compassion, patience, and sacrifice. By educating yourself, participating in therapeutic activities together, and ensuring effective communication, you can make a significant difference in your partner’s journey to recovery, all while enhancing your own life. Remember, caring for yourself is equally as important. Know that you’re not alone, and that help is always available for both your partner and for you.

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