Mental health: supporting your partner with haemophilia

Mental health: supporting your partner with haemophilia

Many of us will experience some form of mental health challenge during our lifetime.1,2 This is no different for people with haemophilia. There are ways to help take back control and protect your emotional wellbeing.

Life’s ups and downs

Even if your partner keeps on top of managing their haemophilia, everyday pressures can creep up and lead to negative emotions over time. These difficulties aren’t necessarily a reflection of you or your relationship, it’s a hurdle that both of you can work to overcome.

What your partner might be going through:3,4

  • Feeling limited in life or not protected against bleeds by their current haemophilia treatment
  • Frustrated by a treatment or treatment schedule that doesn’t fit into their daily life
  • Having bleeds that stop them doing certain activities or that lead to hospitalisation
  • Experiencing ongoing pain because of joint bleeds or joint damage
  • Losing mobility that makes normal tasks difficult

All of these things can impact how your partner would usually go about their day-to-day life, which can have a knock-on effect on their social activities, hobbies and work.3

Things to look out for

Changes can be gradual, though some signs can be more obvious than others.2 If you notice the following signs for two or more weeks, your partner could be experiencing:

Depression5,6,7 Anxiety8
Low mood or irritability Constantly tense, nervous or worried
Loss of interest in things they normally enjoy Avoiding situations that make them feel anxious
Trouble concentrating Always fearing the worst
Feelings of worthlessness Feeling disconnected from their body or surroundings
Trouble sleeping Panic attacks

 

Seek professional advice to find out what is going on and what support is needed

Remember, mental health issues aren’t limited to depression and anxiety – people can experience different problems depending on their emotional challenges and life circumstances.

How you can support your partner

 

  • Be a listening ear7

    If you’re concerned about your partner’s mental wellbeing, you may want to consider having an open conversation with them. Listen to what’s worrying them or causing them to feel this way. Ask if anything could make the situation better and how you can help. Remember, it might take time for them to open up to you.

  • Get informed7

    Learning more about haemophilia and mental health could help you to understand what your partner is going through and ways in which you can offer support. You could also research treatment options together by looking at helpful websites or information from patient groups.

  • Seek professional help7

    You and your partner are not alone. If needed, effective therapies are available. Suggest discussing the possibility of seeing a psychologist with their care team and attend it together. Support them through any long-term therapy and maintain a support group of relatives and trusted friends.

  • Help them keep on track7

    Your partner might forget their treatment on the odd occasion or neglect their joint health. You could give them treatment reminders or practise any physio exercises together to help them keep on track. If they feel part of their treatment or care is not working well for them, it might be a good idea to speak with their doctor or haemophilia care team.

  • Encourage self-care7

    Looking after yourself can sometimes seem trivial if your mental health is affected. However, keeping active, eating healthily and doing things together could really help – you could suggest going on walks or outings together, or meeting up with friends. It’s easier when you work as a team. Remember, it’s also important to take care of yourself!

  • You’re a team

    More than anything you’re a team. A mental health issue does not need to define your partner or your relationship – it’s how you work through it together as a couple that matters, through the good days and the bad days.

 

If you feel that you or your partner need urgent support because of their mental health, you can contact emergency services or a confidential helpline.

 

References: 1. WHO. World health report – mental disorders affect one in four people (accessed March 2020). 2. Rethink Mental Health. Worried about your mental health? (accessed March 2020). 3. WFH. Psychosocial care for people with haemophilia (accessed March 2020). 4. The Haemophilia Society. Positive mental health (accessed March 2020). 5. WHO. Depression (accessed March 2020). 6. NHS. How to help someone with depression (accessed March 2020). 7. Duggal HS. Perm J. 2019;23:18-295. doi: 10.7812/TPP/18-295. Epub 2019 May 31. 8. Mind. Anxiety and panic attacks (accessed March 2020).

 

Download ‘My Voice, My Care’ to understand how to get the most out of conversations with your care team.

Mental health: supporting your partner with haemophilia

Many of us will experience some form of mental health challenge during our lifetime.1,2 This is no different for people with haemophilia. There are ways to help take back control and protect your emotional wellbeing.

Life’s ups and downs

Even if your partner keeps on top of managing their haemophilia, everyday pressures can creep up and lead to negative emotions over time. These difficulties aren’t necessarily a reflection of you or your relationship, it’s a hurdle that both of you can work to overcome.

What your partner might be going through:3,4

  • Feeling limited in life or not protected against bleeds by their current haemophilia treatment
  • Frustrated by a treatment or treatment schedule that doesn’t fit into their daily life
  • Having bleeds that stop them doing certain activities or that lead to hospitalisation
  • Experiencing ongoing pain because of joint bleeds or joint damage
  • Losing mobility that makes normal tasks difficult

All of these things can impact how your partner would usually go about their day-to-day life, which can have a knock-on effect on their social activities, hobbies and work.3

Things to look out for

Changes can be gradual, though some signs can be more obvious than others.2 If you notice the following signs for two or more weeks, your partner could be experiencing:

Depression5,6,7 Anxiety8
Low mood or irritability Constantly tense, nervous or worried
Loss of interest in things they normally enjoy Avoiding situations that make them feel anxious
Trouble concentrating Always fearing the worst
Feelings of worthlessness Feeling disconnected from their body or surroundings
Trouble sleeping Panic attacks

 

Seek professional advice to find out what is going on and what support is needed

Remember, mental health issues aren’t limited to depression and anxiety – people can experience different problems depending on their emotional challenges and life circumstances.

How you can support your partner

 

  • Be a listening ear7

    If you’re concerned about your partner’s mental wellbeing, you may want to consider having an open conversation with them. Listen to what’s worrying them or causing them to feel this way. Ask if anything could make the situation better and how you can help. Remember, it might take time for them to open up to you.

  • Get informed7

    Learning more about haemophilia and mental health could help you to understand what your partner is going through and ways in which you can offer support. You could also research treatment options together by looking at helpful websites or information from patient groups.

  • Seek professional help7

    You and your partner are not alone. If needed, effective therapies are available. Suggest discussing the possibility of seeing a psychologist with their care team and attend it together. Support them through any long-term therapy and maintain a support group of relatives and trusted friends.

  • Help them keep on track7

    Your partner might forget their treatment on the odd occasion or neglect their joint health. You could give them treatment reminders or practise any physio exercises together to help them keep on track. If they feel part of their treatment or care is not working well for them, it might be a good idea to speak with their doctor or haemophilia care team.

  • Encourage self-care7

    Looking after yourself can sometimes seem trivial if your mental health is affected. However, keeping active, eating healthily and doing things together could really help – you could suggest going on walks or outings together, or meeting up with friends. It’s easier when you work as a team. Remember, it’s also important to take care of yourself!

  • You’re a team

    More than anything you’re a team. A mental health issue does not need to define your partner or your relationship – it’s how you work through it together as a couple that matters, through the good days and the bad days.

 

If you feel that you or your partner need urgent support because of their mental health, you can contact emergency services or a confidential helpline.

 

References: 1. WHO. World health report – mental disorders affect one in four people (accessed March 2020). 2. Rethink Mental Health. Worried about your mental health? (accessed March 2020). 3. WFH. Psychosocial care for people with haemophilia (accessed March 2020). 4. The Haemophilia Society. Positive mental health (accessed March 2020). 5. WHO. Depression (accessed March 2020). 6. NHS. How to help someone with depression (accessed March 2020). 7. Duggal HS. Perm J. 2019;23:18-295. doi: 10.7812/TPP/18-295. Epub 2019 May 31. 8. Mind. Anxiety and panic attacks (accessed March 2020).

 

Download ‘My Voice, My Care’ to understand how to get the most out of conversations with your care team.