Although mental health disorders are extremely common and nothing of which anyone should ever be ashamed, the stigma attached to mental health can be damaging on so many levels.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 43.8 million adults in the United States experience mental illness in any given year. Of those who experience mental illness in any given year, 9.8 million of them will find themselves battling a severe mental illness that affects their daily lives. On a grander scale, the World Health Organization reports that roughly 450 million people, worldwide, suffer from a mental illness and one in four will be personally affected by a mental illness at some point in their lives. Basically, you don't have to go too far to find someone who's affected by a mental illness, either directly or indirectly.
While denial can seem like a safe way to deal with something that's stigmatized or that you wish didn't exist, it just leads to untreated illnesses. Because of this, sometimes a partner has to intervene and try to shed some light.
"One of the hardest things to talk about with our partner is when we see something that seems outside the 'normal' range," relationship expert Dr. Carolina Castaños, founder of MovingOn, tells Bustle. "There is a very fine line between playing a blame game and really addressing an issue that might be a big part of the problem. There are two in a relationship and it takes two for it to work, but sometimes one of them has a mental disorder or a substance abuse problem that they do not want to see and they cannot see. It is so difficult to see what you don’t see! It’s like someone telling you that there is a lake in front of you and you only see a wall. You simply don't see it until you're ready."
If you think your partner has a mental health disorder that they're just not ready to deal with, you need to tread lightly. Here are eight ways to approach them on the subject without rocking the boat.