Advice for partners and families - Postnatal depression

Living with someone with postnatal depression can be very worrying. There are things you can do to help.

Try to be patient and understanding. Give support, encouragement and hope. Your help is important to them.

If you need support or information, ask your local public health nurse or GP.

Supporting your loved one

Things you can do to help a loved one with postnatal depression:

  • Know the signs and symptoms of postnatal depression.
  • Encourage her to talk to her GP, public health nurse or counsellor and offer to go with her to appointments.
  • Let her express her true feelings.
  • Listen with empathy, don't criticise her.
  • Make sure she eats enough and gets rest.
  • Encourage her to do some exercise or go for a walk together.
  • Take the baby out for a walk to give her a break.
  • Plan activities as a couple away from the baby.
  • Ask family and friends for support by making meals, doing laundry or babysitting.
  • Limit the number of visitors if she is feeling overwhelmed.
  • Tell her she is a great mother and doing great.
  • Find any support groups or mother and baby groups in your area and encourage her to join.

Taking care of yourself

Life with a new baby is stressful. It can be especially difficult if the baby's mother is unwell with postnatal depression.

Take care of yourself also. Find someone to talk to and take time for yourself. You need a break too.

Research has shown that up to 10% of partners experience depression after the birth of a child.

Non-urgent advice: Speak to your GP if:

  • you are feeling down, depressed or anxious for more than 2 weeks

Page last reviewed: 1 March 2018
Next review due: 1 March 2021