To think being admitted to a psych ward is a major red flag?

(203 Posts)
JaffaMyCake Tue 06-Aug-13 18:34:26

Need some help on this one mnetters!

Friend is 'seeing' a man who has just told her he has recently been in hospital on a psychiatric ward. He hasn't/won't disclose the details of why and friend hasn't pushed on the matter.

AIBU to think this is a major red flag and tell her to steer clear?

Or is this discriminating against MH issues? I do realise they can affect anyone and are not always a signpost of abusive behaviour. Friend has no children involved.

gordyslovesheep Tue 06-Aug-13 18:36:31

I think it's up to your friend and not really your business - wouldn't be a red flag to me necessarily

RedPencils Tue 06-Aug-13 18:38:15

You are discriminating against MH issues.

Some abusive people may have MH issues, it doesn't mean they all have.

JaffaMyCake Tue 06-Aug-13 18:38:41

Yes obviously not strictly my business but she asked for my opinion and what I'd do.

mynameisslimshady Tue 06-Aug-13 18:38:53

Why is him seeking help for his condition, whatever it may be, a red flag? Its a positive thing surely.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 06-Aug-13 18:39:21

well it depends on what your friend wants out of the relationship, how well does she know him is she ready to get involved with him

if this is a pull for her to look after him then yes, if she wants to take it slow and understand him more and accept him then no

she needs to look at herself too not just look at him if that makes sense

valiumredhead Tue 06-Aug-13 18:41:01

Well I'm glad my Dh didn't think it was a red flag and he didn't steer clear of mehmm

Yes it's a problem if he won't say why (not the disease itself)

Yes it's a problem if he was committed against his will, if he doesn't know how to manage his disease or chooses not to.

No, I have a close family member who was once admitted after having a nervous breakdown, nothing untoward to worry about at all. Mental health problems still carry a lot of stigma, it is not surprising he is reluctant to talk about it.

racingheart Tue 06-Aug-13 18:43:50

Sounds like a good thing to me. When he's ill he gets help and he's been honest with your friend. Both signs of maturity and responsibility. Being in a relationship with someone who has severe MI can be difficult, no doubt about it, but the behaviour you've described isn't a red flag in itself.

MisselthwaiteManor Tue 06-Aug-13 18:43:52

would you say the same if he had recently been in hospital with a physical problem?

Moxiegirl Tue 06-Aug-13 18:43:55

Hard to say without more info. But as someone who spent ten years with xh who was in and out of psych hospital, and 2 damaged teenagers as a result (one is currently in a psych unit herself) I would be very wary tbh.

The fact that he won't say why he was admitted is more of a red flag than the fact he was (if that makes sense?).

thebody Tue 06-Aug-13 18:44:34

totally up to your friend but if he said he needed help and accessed it that's a good thing not a red flag.

MH issues are not an indicator of abusive behaviour. Your friend may want to understand better what his health situation is, but I don't think she is in a "risky" relationship.

pollywollydoodle Tue 06-Aug-13 18:45:24

the refusing to discuss it is more concerning than him having been in a psychiatric hospital tbh

i'd like to know why he was admitted, if he sought help/was sectionned, was discharged/discharged himself

Sirzy Tue 06-Aug-13 18:45:36

If someone had recently been in hospital with cancer would you see that as a red flag?

Would you really expect a new partner to disclose their whole medical history?

YABU and showing just what a stigma still remains for people with mental health problems 😟

chesterberry Tue 06-Aug-13 18:46:53

I think the fact that he has told her he has been in the psychiatric ward is a good sign - he might just not feel ready to tell her why yet as, understandably, he probably wants to keep it private and needs to know he can trust your friend not to share those reasons with anybody else (including yourself - I hope he was happy for her to share as much information as she already has?).

Certainly I don't think the fact that he has been in a psychiatric ward is a red flag in itself, although if there were any signs that this was for abusive behaviout I would of course steer clear. There are so many non-violent/ abusive reasons he may have needed to stay there (eating disorders, attempted suicide, self-harm, major depression, hallucinations, erratic behaviour etc) and hopefully now his stay is over he is receieving appropriate treatment to manage the reasons he was admitted.

I think if it were me I would be happy to see a man who had been open and honest about the fact he had had a stay even if he wasn't able to tell me why, however I think I would expect that at some point, if the relationship were to become serious, he would trust me enough and feel ready to talk to me about the reason for him being admitted.

MisselthwaiteManor Tue 06-Aug-13 18:47:02

Maybe he wants some privacy, I wouldn't disclose something so personal to someone I'm only 'seeing' especially if it was recent and raw.

raisah Tue 06-Aug-13 18:47:26

Are you worried that he was admitted against his wishes for violent or disturbing behaviour. Is it the fact thathe isn't open about the reason for his admittance disturbing you rather than possible mh issues? Are you worried about the safety of your friend?

A family friend was sectioned after an extremely disturbing psychotic episode in which she almost strangled her dd.

Lanceolate Tue 06-Aug-13 18:49:55

So he volunteered that he'd recently been in hospital in a psych ward but wouldn't say why?

You're just starting a goady thread.

gatsby79 Tue 06-Aug-13 18:50:05

Why on earth would this signal an abusive partner? I don't really follow your logic. But maybe that's just because I too have been on a psych ward...

Moxiegirl Tue 06-Aug-13 18:50:33

The thing is, there is a pretty high threshold for hospital admission, due to budgets most mental illness is treated in the community. So whatever the reason it was probably quite severe and I would advise her to be cautious but not necessarily steer clear.

MariaLuna Tue 06-Aug-13 18:51:11

Well, I was with a man who developed serious mental health problems.

I had to get out to safeguard me and our DS.

I wouldn't recommend a relationship like that to anyone.

But I do realise each situation is different. Only the person going through it can decide.

Tiredemma Tue 06-Aug-13 18:51:40

Its only a very small percentage of people who are both violent and residing on MH wards.
people with MH issues are far more vulnerable to others.

I think its a good sign that he has been upfront and honest about his recent stay.

maybe i am biased- I work on a mental health ward (with women who are detained under criminal sections of the MH Act)- they are not 'an illness' they are human beings - and I have to say generally lovely.

Coffeenowplease Tue 06-Aug-13 18:52:52

Cant believe so many people think its a red flag if he wont discuss it. Do all of you inform your prospective DPs of any physical medical problems e.g. gynae problems, cancer, other serious illnesses ?!

Why on earth should he have to discuss something so personal and private with a new partner ?

Whothefuckfarted Tue 06-Aug-13 18:53:38

The fact that he wont disclose the reasons why to her is what would worry me. But that's up to her.

If I was your friend I'd want to know.

WhoNickedMyName Tue 06-Aug-13 18:54:10

Of course it's a red flag. He won't disclose why. THAT is the red flag.

gatsby79 Tue 06-Aug-13 18:54:22

There are no children involved, only two consenting adults. And while I appreciate there are people with MH issues who can be violent, everyone I have known with. MH problems have only been a danger to themselves.

Coffeenowplease Tue 06-Aug-13 18:54:31

I find it very sad this sort of stigma is still so obvious.sad

aldiwhore Tue 06-Aug-13 18:54:31

Perhaps the only red flag is one that says "Take it slow"?

I hate all this red flag bollocks. My lovely ex boyfriend beat me up without needing any 'red flags' so I do wish people would fuck off already with all their red flag bullshit. It's real life not semaphore.

He's been open enough to say he's been recently been in hospital. Any normal person would why. Why does it make a difference that it's a psych unit? Your friend needs to know some details, because honesty is important. But it is not a 'red flag' or any other type of bloody flag in itself.

You cannot possibly advise her if you have such scant details.

You say your friend is 'seeing' him, in what context?

MariaLuna Tue 06-Aug-13 18:54:33

Oh, and by the way, no way people with mental health problems are always abusive.

A neighbour has been admitted to a psych ward - she kept herself very much to herself and was more timid mouse.

Coffeenowplease Tue 06-Aug-13 18:55:32

He wont disclose why is NOT a red flag on its own !

hardboiledpossum Tue 06-Aug-13 18:55:36

Moxiegirl but there are certain things that will get you immediately admitted on to a psych ward, such as admitting a plan t seriously hurt or kill yourself. I wouldn't see it as a red flag.

racingheart Tue 06-Aug-13 18:57:24

In a new relationship, you might not disclose why you'd been in any other ward either. If it were something that is a sensitive issue, it makes sense to get to know someone and work out whether you can trust them and if you want them to have such information about you before you give it.

Hummuschocolate Tue 06-Aug-13 18:57:29

Perhaps she should take it slow and perhaps you should keep an eye on her and be there for her if she needs to talk etc. But those are all things that would happen in a new relationship anyway.

Hopefully the fact that he has been in a psychiatric unit means he has sought and received the help he needs.

Moxiegirl Tue 06-Aug-13 18:57:46

I'm coming from more of a potentially difficult relationship than a violent one point of view, but I'm probably biased due to my xh and dd.

Sirzy Tue 06-Aug-13 18:58:35

Why Should he disclose?

He has made her aware that their is an issue but he doesn't want to go into more details. That's no different from someone saying they are undergoing some investigations but keeping the reasons to themselves.

Surely he is allowed some privacy?

How did she find out he'd been admitted? I've been in a psych ward & only volunteer that information if I'm prepared to discuss it. Maybe he's not refusing to discuss it at all, just not yet, the OP doesn't say. When I was released I still had a long way to go before I was fully recovered, and unless the OP's friend knows more detail she can't really help his recovery.

FirstStopCafe Tue 06-Aug-13 19:01:16

Yes it's discriminatory. He has already told her about his admission. I'm sure if their relationship develops and he gets to know and trust her more he will tell her the reasons. As this thread shows there is so much stigma about mental illness. I don't blame him for not revealing all the details straight away

gordyslovesheep Tue 06-Aug-13 19:01:51

My sister has mental health issues - she has never posed a threat to my children or her step son so yes everyone IS different hmm Mental Illness covers lots of different things you know!

Arnie123 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:02:27

There is a lovely thread on here at the moment titled To Tell You I Have a Mental Illness written to tackle mh stigma and discrimination. And now this....

gordyslovesheep Tue 06-Aug-13 19:02:38

and maybe he was right not to tell her since she blabbed it to you and you chose to post it on the WWW!

But if someone told me they'd spent time on any ward I'd ask why, not just because it was a psych ward.

Sirzy Tue 06-Aug-13 19:03:34

The other thing is he might be scared of how she will react so only disclosing things slowly - at least that way he hasn't poured his heart out, trusted someone for them to then run a mile.

This way he may feel like he is keeping control of the situation more and if she walks away at the point of knowing he is ill he hasn't put his whole history out there for no reason.

gatsby79 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:05:29

I am pregnant right now, and biolar to boot! No one seems particularly concerned about my potential red flag status. Should the midwife be checking I'm not a dangerous person? Mental health issues do not necessarily mean a person is an unsuitable partner, or mother for that matter.

Naoko Tue 06-Aug-13 19:05:44

I hope my lovely friend from secondary school, who spent six months in a psych ward when she was only 16, never meets someone who holds that against her as a red flag. She wasn't a danger to anyone but herself, and that was why she was there. And she doesn't like to talk about it now until she knows and trusts someone - why should she?!

JaffaMyCake Tue 06-Aug-13 19:06:07

Just to clarify I didn't say she should stop seeing him, it was more of a 'hmmm be careful' as I have literally no experience in this sort of thing so came on mumsnet to see if I'm being hasty in forming an opinion.

He said he'd been 'admitted' does that mean sectioned?

PrettyKitty1986 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:06:50

Your friend is an adult and does not need to be 'told' anything. Obviously, yes, it is discriminatory.

However, if this were me, then it's not a situation I would get involved it and yes, rightly or wrongly, that sort of admission would be a huge red flag to me.

Sirzy Tue 06-Aug-13 19:07:09

No it means he had been admitted to hospital.

it is clear you have no experience, but please see from this thread that mental health covers such a wide spectrum and really isnt something to be scared of.

gatsby79 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:09:17

If you'd been admitted to a nightclub does that mean you were forcibly sent there ? Of course not. It just means " let in".

Spikeytree Tue 06-Aug-13 19:11:11

I've been admitted to hospital for a Mental Illness.

I'm also a teacher in charge of hoards of teenagers.

It is clear that you have little knowledge of MH, but starting a thread like this can be very upsetting for some people. We aren't 'other' you know, just because we have a mental illness. We are people and this type of stigmatisation doesn't help.

Gruntfuttocks Tue 06-Aug-13 19:15:56

People are admitted to psychiatric hospitals for drug and alcohol rehabilitation - is that a possibility with him? Might explain his reticence.
It really is none of your business who she chooses to see, and maybe when they know each other better he will feel more comfortable sharing the details of his recent illness. He may be worried that she will be scared off (and he's right isn't he, if she shares your attitude?!)

Coffeenowplease Tue 06-Aug-13 19:23:31

Y'know this is EXACTLY why I feel I cannot discuss my MH issues with people.

cornypepper Tue 06-Aug-13 19:24:13

Op you starting this thread may illustrate one of the reasons why he hasn't disclosed the nature of his illness.
He's chosen not to go into detail about his MH with your friend yet you've started a thread about him on a very busy forum.
Perhaps he just doesn't want to be the subject of gossip.

merrymouse Tue 06-Aug-13 19:24:48

If she is just seeing him and they are finding out how well they get on I don't think it's as much of an issue as do they share interests/are their personal values at odds/do they have fun together.

If their relationship has progressed to a more serious level then it would be a bit odd if he didn't give her more details, but it doesn't sound as though they have got that far yet.

ForgetfulNameChanger Tue 06-Aug-13 19:35:18

I think the fact he has disclosed he was in a psychiatric ward but then not even given a hint as to why is a red flag. He could be as brief as he wanted with the reason why. I just find it a bit strange that he's comfortable enough to say btw I was in a psychiatric ward recently but then not comfortable enough to say why. Why even bother sharing that?

Freudianslap Tue 06-Aug-13 19:37:53

The very title of this post makes me sad and highlights there is still so much work to do around mental illness. I really do wish it received the same type of support as other chronic illnesses.

BUT it is nice to see that the majority of the responses have been so positive to mental health which gives me great hope.

In answer to the question itself - admission to a psych ward is no more of a 'red flag' than any unknown in a new relationship.

OctopusPete8 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:39:23

If he won't disclose then yes its a problem,

Does he say whether its voluntary or not?

WhoNickedMyName Tue 06-Aug-13 19:40:39

Grunt, people are not admitted to psychiatric hospital for drug or alcohol rehabilitation.

They may have a mental illness and coexisting problems with drugs and/or alcohol, but they wouldn't be admitted for drink/drug rehabilitation alone.

Sirzy Tue 06-Aug-13 19:43:08

Forgetful - perhaps he is 'dipping his toe in' to see how she reacts before he opens up?

Perhaps he wants her to realise why he might have 'bad days' or need to take things slowly without disclosing his medical history any more?

Perhaps he was seeing how much she could be trusted - and given she has already gone running to friends about it obviously not much!

PrettyKitty1986 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:43:45

Not everyone who would view this as a red flag is of that opinion because of 'lack of experience' with mh issues or because of terrible, unjustified prejudices.

Some people would rather steer clear because they do have experience with mh issues. Pulling the 'naiive' card really irritates me - it's not always the case.

maddening Tue 06-Aug-13 19:43:52

If I was her I would push to know why - as if there is any future surely honesty in such matters is a must - she should be allowed to judge whether she is happy as MH issues can range from mild to serious.

Samu2 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:44:44

He doesn't have to disclose it until he is ready. That is not a red flag.

My dh had been in 4 times years before he met me. He was honest about it but if he wasn't then I would have assumed that he wasn't ready to discuss it with me as maybe it was to painful to go into details.

No one has a right for anyones medical history and unless they have been together for a long time I don't see why he should be expected to so soon in a relationship.. well with the person he is 'seeing'

wigglesrock Tue 06-Aug-13 19:45:22

As far as I'm aware most people are admitted to a psychiatric ward voluntarily. It could be for any number of reasons including attempted suicide. To be honest it wouldn't be raising any red flags for me. He's told her he's spent some time in a ward, he will tell her when he's ready and if he wants to why.

Samu2 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:47:33

Maddening, no one should push anyone to open up about their history.

How long have they been together OP?
Is the relationship serious?

If they are just dating each other casually then it's not necessarily a big deal. No one should be pushed into disclosing anything they don't want to.

If OP's friend wants him to open up about it right now then she has to choose whether or not she can wait or end the relationship, he should be pushed into it.

Samu2 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:48:01

too painful*

sorry for typos.

celestialbows Tue 06-Aug-13 19:48:20

If they want the relationship to progress he needs to give some details, maybe a brief overview rather than chapter and verse. He might be the sweetest most gentle man in the world but it would be unfair to expect her to go blindly into this, he may not be a danger to her but he could be a danger to himself.

She needs to know if there are any future risks and triggers etc so that she can make the informed decision based on how much support he might need. It might be that he needs no support and had a reactive breakdown, it might be that he had drug induced psychosis...

There are myriad reasons for hospital admissions and to posters suggesting its none of your friend's business I think that is what is known as positive discrimination. I might be wrong.

Spikeytree Tue 06-Aug-13 19:48:22

What is a 'justified' prejudice then, PrettyKitty?

WeAreEternal Tue 06-Aug-13 19:49:22

You have no idea what he was admitted for.
You do not know if he admitted himself voluntarily or not.
You do not know anything about his MH or if he is now recovered.

The fact that he was in hospital and is not anymore shows that he received treatment and is obviously much better now.

celestialbows Tue 06-Aug-13 19:50:39

For a poster upthread: our local psychiatric unit also houses people who are there purely to detox from drugs and alcohol. Different NHS trusts have different practices.

Pilgit Tue 06-Aug-13 19:52:56

No not a red flag in itself. Lots of reasons he could have been there and if he has only justmet her he probably doesn't want to discuss it yet.

Umicar Tue 06-Aug-13 19:53:08

Not read the thread, but I have been admitted to a Psych ward and I am a normal person. Every one has problems, we all just deal with them differently. I am glad DH didn't think it was a red flag confused

PrettyKitty1986 Tue 06-Aug-13 19:54:54

Spikeytree - there is no such thing as a 'justified' prejudice. What's your point? hmm

MorrisZapp Tue 06-Aug-13 19:55:23

I see it as a bit of a red flag that he won't say why he was admitted. I had brutal PND and was near suicidal myself so I've got the tshirt as far as MH goes, and I tell anybody who'll listen that I'm on meds and why.

Truth is, I could relapse at any time. Maybe this guy could too. Anybody close to him would ideally know a bit about this. I personally don't see it as prejudice.

lottieandmia Tue 06-Aug-13 19:56:38

YABU - it's attitudes like yours about mental health issues that cause and perpetuate ignorance about them.

What, do you think he's an axe murderer or something because he's spent time in a psychiatric ward?? You need to educate yourself if so...

I've been admitted to a psychiatric ward myself - I spent a month there due to my bipolar disorder. Yet today I consider myself recovered. I've had no episodes for years. If someone didn't want a relationship with me just because of my past illness I would consider them too bigoted to be worth my time anyway.

Sirzy Tue 06-Aug-13 19:59:28

But Morris thats great that you feel that confident but surely you can see why not everyone would feel about to shout the details of their illness from the rooftop?

Spikeytree Tue 06-Aug-13 19:59:47

PrettyKitty, it was you who said that you didn't discriminate because of 'unjustified' prejudice, so I just wondered what justified prejudice you might use instead.

Shock horror - people with MH problems are just like all people. Different. A bad experience with one person with a MH problem does not translate to everyone else with a MH problem.

I have been in hospital both informally and on a section (a section doesn't mean you are violent, it just means you need people to make some decisions for you), it doesn't mean anything about me as a person other than I am a person with MH issues. I am a bit sad that some people seem to be saying that going in voluntarily with depression is ok, but being sectioned because you are psychotic is not, it is not as black and white as that.

I wouldn't tell someone I had just met the ins and outs of my problems but might mention it to explain why I missed the first five months of this year (for example).

As long as they take it slowly, as anyone should in a new relationship it should be ok.

frogspoon Tue 06-Aug-13 20:01:23

The fact that he has been in a psych ward is not a red flag.

That he has been in recently is more of a concern. I would want to know that he was recovered from his illness before starting a new relationship.

lottieandmia Tue 06-Aug-13 20:01:48

If somebody had had heart disease or cancer would you see that as a 'red flag' too?

ForgetfulNameChanger Tue 06-Aug-13 20:03:13

sirzy, surely with dipping your toe, you'd reveal something small first? I know if I choose to disclose my MH stuff I start with something small and clear (nothing vague) to see how people react. To people with no experience of MH issues, psychiatric ward sounds like a big deal and is very vague.

celestialbows Tue 06-Aug-13 20:04:35

Hypothetically: would you rather find out that your paramour is a bigot or leave them in the dark to let their own imagination run riot?
He has already dropped the hint, How long is it fair to let someone fall in love with him before either putting their mind at rest or telling them what they may have to support with later on down the line?
I speak as someone with MH probs of my own plus experience of working in mental health and of having family and romantic relationships with people who have MH issues.
I have been naive many a time and taken on responsibilities I really couldn't cope with.

candycoatedwaterdrops Tue 06-Aug-13 20:04:50

Some of the posts on this thread just prove ignorant arses still exist and that the stigma is huge.

Fucking shit. sad

lottieandmia Tue 06-Aug-13 20:07:15

Yes, people are incredibly ignorant about MH issues still. In RL I don't tell anybody 'new' about mine.

JulieMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 06-Aug-13 20:07:49


Tiredemma Tue 06-Aug-13 20:07:56

This thread is actually really sad.


We haven't moved on at all have we? Stigma and prejudice remain staring us in the face.

ButThereAgain Tue 06-Aug-13 20:09:01

What on earth does the OP mean by saying that "mental health issues are not always a sign of abusive behaviour"? It would make as much sense to say that "cancer is not always a sign of abusive behaviour".

This is the second thread I have seen recently equating mental health problems with "red flag". If someone doesn't want to get involved with a person facing mental health difficulties then fair enough -- it might indeed be challenging. But there is no need to dress up this reluctance as a fear of abuse. Gratuitously stigmatising.

Spikeytree Tue 06-Aug-13 20:10:23

Yes, it really is Time To Change

lottieandmia Tue 06-Aug-13 20:10:52

Tiredemma - when I was ill even my friends and family backed away from me. It was as if they were afraid of me because I had been deemed ill enough to be in hospital.

PrettyKitty1986 Tue 06-Aug-13 20:14:24

Spikeytree - I suppose it was bad wording on my part.

Let me reword it - some people would not view this as a red flag due to prejudice.

martha2013 Tue 06-Aug-13 20:17:12

I feel really sad reading this too. Surely showing blanket red flags to people because of the presence of mental health problems means you might miss out on getting to know some extraordinary people. This man may make your friend very happy but he certainly won't if your friend puts up a barrier and writes him off before giving him a chance.

insanityscratching Tue 06-Aug-13 20:20:22

OP I've been sectioned, I'm the mother of five children, I've never hurt anyone in my life, I've never even smacked my children, I've been teetotal since I was eighteen and have never touched any illegal drugs and haven't smoked. Thank God my dh of 25 years didn't see the fact that I was once severely depressed (been discharged from all MH services for about 11 years and meds free for 15) was a reason to steer clear don't you think?

AnneTwacky Tue 06-Aug-13 20:20:28

No shouldn't be a red flag any more than being admitted to hospital for anything else should be.

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 06-Aug-13 20:20:59

If he was willing to say he had been admitted (it's a big thing to admit, brave even) but unwilling to say why, then I would consider if I wanted to become heavily involved.

phantomnamechanger Tue 06-Aug-13 20:21:50

I think if your friend is in a new relationship she needs to take things slowly, get to know the person, look after herself and take all sensible precautions. This has nothing to do with his MH issues, just common sense.

He did not have to tell her about his stay in hospital but he did - THAT IS A REALLY GOOD SIGN NOT A RED FLAG
It is not a red flag that he does not feel ready to tell her in detail yet - maybe he is fragile and gets upset talking about it, maybe he really likes her and wants her to get to know him before sharing his problems with her. Maybe he was worried that if he left it till later to tell her, she would then totally overreact bout his secrecy and run a mile?

You might tell a new man you had just been in hospital but not want to say it was to have your piles sorted.

If his MH issues were anything remotely violent or he was in someway a danger to your friend or trying to deceive her, he would not have even told her about the admission.

As long as your friend is doing the things in my first parag, then butt out and stop judging someone you don't know and something you clearly do not understand.

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 06-Aug-13 20:23:10

Because it seems odd to me to be willing to admit one thing but not the other.

MH issues are indicative that somebody is likely to commit domestic abuse either. In this day and age it's a little bizarre you would think that.

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 06-Aug-13 20:23:51

Are NOT not are!

Shit! blush

Sirzy Tue 06-Aug-13 20:27:30

Lottie - that is really sad, yet not a suprise. I think that one sentence alone probably explains why this man is reluctant to disclose too much too soon. If friends and family will back away then how is a relative stranger (albeit one who they are in a new relationship with) going to react?

phantomnamechanger Tue 06-Aug-13 20:27:31

I think by openly volunteering this info, knowing as I am sure he does how odd some people are about MH issues, then it shows he has all the right intentions. Maybe he is trying to suss your friend out, see if she is the right kind of woman for him - or a prejudiced bigot - before bearing his soul and letting himself get more involved

hermioneweasley Tue 06-Aug-13 20:27:42

I am going to be controversial. Some people with MH issues are very difficult to live with and be in relationships with. If his stay was recent and he was ill enough to be admitted to a psych ward I would want to know a lot more about what I was potentially taking on.

Spikeytree Tue 06-Aug-13 20:29:48

hermione, why is that controversial? Some people without MH issues are difficult to live with and be in relationships with. Some people full stop.

ButThereAgain Tue 06-Aug-13 20:31:21

This OP reminds me of why I never ever mention to anyone in real life that I have stayed in a mental hospital.

Alohomora Tue 06-Aug-13 20:31:25

It's great that he feels safe enough with her to admit that he has spent time in a psych ward, but reactions like yours should make it obvious why he might not feel comfortable to tell your friend everything about his condition.

Telling new people about mental health problems can make you feel very vulnerable, especially knowing the stigma still attached to it, and he might feel to vulnerable to discuss his problems fully. It's in no way a red flag and, as others have thankfully pointed out, has NOTHING to do with whether someone might have abusive tendencies or not!

ButThereAgain Tue 06-Aug-13 20:33:10

Or, rather, I mentioned it to the one person who I thought had a right to know -- the man that ended up as my husband. Thankfully he turned out not to be a dick about it.

candycoatedwaterdrops Tue 06-Aug-13 20:34:27

Hermione I can be controversial too - some people with green eyes are very difficult to live with. Mental health issues alone are not a red flag. It really bloody is time to change! sad

5madthings Tue 06-Aug-13 20:35:39

ffs no it is not a red flag.

i was admitted to a psych unit, i went as if i didnt go they were going to section me. i had social services involvement with our children to make sure we were all ok. it was a horrible time for us all. thankfully my dp didnt think it was a 'red flag' he saw that i was ill and needex support.

ditto our very best friend from uni has mh issues and has been hospitalised a few times, he is still an 'uncle' figure to our children. when i had to rush ds3 to a&e on sunday it was him that i called to come and watch my other four children.

i try and be quite open at the mh issues i have had. i certainly dont see it as anything to be ashamed of but i can see why people feel its something they should hide when i read threads like this.

AnneTwacky Tue 06-Aug-13 20:38:01

I think that some of the attitudes I've seen on this thread, are a big part of why he and many other people, find it so hard to open up.

He's been ill, he shouldn't have to feel bad about it.

idiuntno57 Tue 06-Aug-13 20:40:20

are you as bigoted in RL as you seem?

I have been in a locked ward. Only harm I was ever likely to do was to myself. There are a million reasons why he may have been in hospital. If your friend is a better person than you sound then she will stick around and find out about her bf who may one day feel comfortable enough to talk about it. With friends like you a looong way away.

It is people like you who make being honest about mental health issues VERY hard. I hope one day you will wake up to yourself and feel ashamed.

hermioneweasley Tue 06-Aug-13 20:44:33

Candy, it is my experience that the MH illness is more likely to be inherently difficult, as opposed to eye colour. In my family we have bi polar disorder, OCD, and paranoid schizophrenia. Also significant alcoholism and former drug users as individuals tried to self medicate. I stand by my statement that these are inherently hard on the close relatives and partners.

mollycuddles Tue 06-Aug-13 20:44:43

IMO it's none of the op's business
I hope her friend gets to know him and gives him a proper chance and only dumps him if he turns out to be a twonk or they're incompatible and his mh has no impact
Fwiw I had PND. I know 2 men well who have the same mh diagnosis. One is fab. The other a lazy cocklodger. Who'd have thought that a diagnosis doesn't define you?

HeffalumpTheFlump Tue 06-Aug-13 20:47:51

Butthereagain - snap

This thread has made me fucking angry. I hope you never go through what I've been through that led me to be hospitalised. I hope that there is another way for you to open your eyes. My dh is a million times the person you will ever be because he saw me, not a mh condition, and not just some person who had been hospitalised. I shall tell him that it should have been a red flag though, he's obviously a complete moron for 'taking me on' as some posters have put it.

I'm going to hide this thread now because anything further that I would like to say to you people would certainly be deleted.

SneakyNuts Tue 06-Aug-13 20:55:44

And this is why I feel I can't tell anyone about my MH issues.

Including new boyfriend, nice to know it would be seen as a "red flag"

candycoatedwaterdrops Tue 06-Aug-13 20:58:12

Hermione Would you say that a relationship with a person who is a wheelchair user is likely to be 'inherently difficult'?

overwhelmedandangry Tue 06-Aug-13 21:00:30

I think it could be a red flag but without knowing what for or what the ongoing diagnosis is you really can't say.
We have a family member who has recently been sectioned - he will never have contact with my children again. Nothing to do with being in hospital bit what he did to result being admitted to hospital. The things he said and did cannot be forgotten and we can never let our guard down. I know he wasn't in his right mind but I can't risk that it happens again, I must put my children first. We were lucky that no one was seriously hurt, although I will forever be haunted by what my husband and I witnessed that day.
Your friend needs to know before deciding but I hope beyond all hope that it's not our family member that she is seeing ( I say this because he is active on dating websites)

idiuntno57 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:01:06

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

idiuntno57 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:04:21

by the way I have no idea what this bloke is like but he appears to have been judged by the OP on grounds that have little bearing in fact

Sirzy Tue 06-Aug-13 21:05:39

But overwhelmed - things like that can happen without any mental health problems.

People here are trying to judge literally millions of people, with one of hundreds of conditions which fall into the "mental health" umbrella with no information at all. That is so sad in this day and age that just the words mental health are met with such fear and ignorance.

If someone was start a post to say their friend was seeing a "black man" should that be a red flag would that be acceptable? I would hope not so why is it acceptable when it comes to mental health?

Some people need to remember that anyone can become mentally ill at any time in their life. If that were to happen to you would you want people running scared and thinking of you as a potential abuser?

SneakyNuts Tue 06-Aug-13 21:06:22

Heff flowers

LEMisdisappointed Tue 06-Aug-13 21:07:11

annetwacky can i just say - LOVE the name, i have a friend from liverpool and was telling me about things being "twacky" I have now adopted the saying myself.

As for the OP - have a biscuit to go with your ignorance. There is a campaign running at the moment that is encouraging people to be up front and open about mental health issues. Its called Time to talk and it is trying to stop the very sort of ignorance that you have displayed here. Red flag? really??? Being honest about something that has happened to him a red flag? wow! would it have been better if he just kept shtum about it?

To be fair, if a new partner told me they had to be on a psych ward, i would want to know some details, not because it was a red flag, but if i cared about someone i'd want to know how to support them. As someone who is very open about my MH issues, I have experienced some prejudice - school mums not allowing their children to my house for playdates hmm because im on ADs (im a fecking site calmer than them! ha!) but I am also please to say that my friends and the people who matter have stuck by me and haven't judged.

martha2013 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:07:25

I wonder what level of difficulty is seen as worthwhile when 'taking on' somebody. Is it worth getting to know a person who is blind, someone with diabetes, someone with hayfever?? If someone's life is harder to manage than the 'normal' 'average' person are they best avoided from the outset?

LEMisdisappointed Tue 06-Aug-13 21:09:27

oh, hold on - not only have the mnet massive diagnosed that the guy must be a psychopath, but they may have even identified him, with a warning that he should be kept away from children - I don't have the words angry

FourGates Tue 06-Aug-13 21:09:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SneakyNuts Tue 06-Aug-13 21:13:39

I actually felt strong enough to open up to those close to me this week

Then this thread appears and I think fuck no.

LEMisdisappointed Tue 06-Aug-13 21:14:09

Did you have a good time Fourgates? wink

I have reported this thread because i feel that it breaches the rules regarding discrimination, i sincerely hope that MNHQ feel the same

idiuntno57 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:16:18

martha lets all be barcoded with an instantly readable download of all our health issues and negative personality traits e.g. small minded judgy fucker then we can weed out people like the OP from our friendship groups .....

formicadinosaur Tue 06-Aug-13 21:17:19

I agree that things have to be quite serious but its positive he has started talking about it. All relationships need to be honest ones to succeed. I would recommend your friend play the relationship by ear. Yes he could be the best thing since sliced bread but on the other hand he may be the worst.

LEMisdisappointed Tue 06-Aug-13 21:20:41

he hasn't disclosed and your friend hasn't pushed the matter - well maybe she isn't prejudiced then. Maybe they will have a long and happy relationship - will you go to their wedding OP?

martha2013 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:24:19

But surely he could be the best or worst thing since sliced bread regardless of whether or not he has been in a mental health hospital or any other hospital. Why do people assume that this needs more consideration than in any other new relationship?

DioneTheDiabolist Tue 06-Aug-13 21:25:37

My ExH has MH issues. When we were together his GP recommended that he admit himself to the psych hospital. He didn't.

I sometimes wonder if he had, would we still be together. Maybe, maybe not. And no OP, you don't have to be sectioned to be admitted.

mamadoc Tue 06-Aug-13 21:26:46

I too find this OP very sad.
I am a psychiatrist. My patients have illnesses but they are normal people.
Lots of surveys over the years have shown that the biggest unmet need for many people with major mental illness is close relationships.
I often feel very sad for my young patients with bipolar or schizophrenia because a diagnosis like that does cause many potential partners to run a mile and yet these are often very treatable illnesses. Some of my older patients have never had the chance to have loving relationships or a family and now they are lonely. I really want to think that we can move on and change this.
Why should living with someone with MH problem be worse than diabetes for instance which also involves lifetime meds, side effects, restrictions on your lifestyle and risk of relapse and hospitalisation?
Some people with mental illness can have disturbed behaviour or be violent or misuse drugs and alcohol but so do many 'normal', 'sane' people. The level of caution she should exercise is the same as for any new relationship.
I think it was brave of this guy to mention it at all. I expect he was just dipping a toe in to see how she reacts and would be prepared to say more if she didn't run for the hills! He may well have been rejected over this before.
I really hope that she is open minded enough to give it a chance and frankly that she isn't unduly influenced by your bigoted views.

RNJ3007 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:32:12

And this is why most people I know in RL have no clue about my MH history...

My husband didn't see it as a red flag; and 6 years and (almost) 2 kids later, he still doesn't. He collects my meds, supports and encourages me and gasp treats me like a human being.

LEMisdisappointed Tue 06-Aug-13 21:32:22

What is a red flag exactly/

Samu2 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:33:34

My husband has bipolar. I have MH issues to. I admit fully that my husband's illness can bring a lot of stress to the household so I get where Hermonie is coming from.

Life is full of stress and ups and down but having a mental illness often adds extra stress as well. I know that my dh has found it hard when I am very ill and I find it hard when he is too. It is often very difficult to raise children and have a busy life when one is ill. There has been times where my husband has been so ill (he is medicated, takes them like clockwork etc) that he has become difficult to live with, same goes for me.

I thank my lucky stars that I was lucky enough to meet such a wonderful loving man, but I won't pretend that his illness doesn't make him more difficult to live with at times. I think that is all Hermonie was trying to say.

Samu2 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:36:45

Mamadoc, when I met my husband he told me he had bipolar and followed it up with 'you can run away now' sad it broke my heart that he felt that way but it had happened before.

Their loss, my gain!

It still saddens me that people feel that way. When I became ill when I was with my ex husband he basically turned away from me too.

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 06-Aug-13 21:38:17


I know what you mean. I knew it wasn't going to work out in a relationship when I realised not only was I reluctant to share (not the biggest issue, I think it's natural) past issues but that the bloke I was with would heavily judge me.

Heartbrokenmum73 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:38:54

Another one here with MH issues - severe depression (to suicidal point) since having my first child 11 years ago. I have shared the 'timetotalk' message on my Facebook wall this evening and written a short statement to go with it about my own issues - unwavering support so far.

And people like OP can kiss my ass! I am upfront with everyone about my MH dealings - people either take me as I am or not at all. I'm not ashamed of who I am.

idiuntno57 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:42:42

when he was just my boyfriend my husband dropped everything and flew across the Atlantic to rescue me from hospital. It was then I knew he was a keeper.

The world needs more like him and fewer like the OP.

hermioneweasley Tue 06-Aug-13 21:45:00

Samu2 - I am full of admiration for you and your DH. It is one of the great cruelties of many mental illnesses that your illness often stops you making good judgements about taking mediation, seeking treatment etc. One of my bipolar family members refuses to be medicated and drinks heavily and smokes a lot of weed to self medicate. He was sectioned after he threatened his mother with a gun. It's very difficult.

hermioneweasley Tue 06-Aug-13 21:45:59

Have you read "an unquiet mind"? A very moving insight into living with bipolar disorder. My mother made it required reading for us!

notanyanymore Tue 06-Aug-13 21:46:28

personally if i was in her situation i would wish he hadn't mentioned it until he felt ablt to give a little more detail (unless i've missed something and he has said more then 'i have recently been on a psych ward')
and yes, i would feel the same if it was 'i have recently been in hospital'

SneakyNuts Tue 06-Aug-13 21:47:21

Alisvolatpropiis I think maybe I'll bite the bullet, even after this awful thread- it's better to know early on, right?!

idiuntno57 that's awesome!

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Tue 06-Aug-13 21:49:04

Having lived for forty years with a bipolar mother who has never admitted she has mental health issues despite numerous hospital admissions (although given the nature of some of the responses on this thread I can well see why she would have felt unable to be open) I know the damage that comes from people not being honest about their problems. If she had been open with me, I would have spent time caring for her and having a relationship with her. Instead, we can't talk honestly about anything because there's a bipolar elephant in the room.
Your friend may or may not continue the relationship with this guy. Like all relationships, the depth of feeling, attraction, things in common and all of the other positive indefinable things that constitute a good relationship have to outweigh the difficulties we all have with our partners. But the early disclosure and honesty about mh issues is anything but a red flag IMO. It's a brave, respectful, right thing to do. I wish the way mh issues are still viewed by many didn't prevent more people feeling able to be honest.

Ineedanewone Tue 06-Aug-13 21:52:30

Jaffamycake, where are you?
Your OP is so ill informed it has saddened me beyond words.
Have you read anything on here that has changed your view?

Ms23 Tue 06-Aug-13 21:56:11

Hmm, having been in a relationship with someone who has mh issues I would tell your friend to be cautious. It can add a lot of stress/worry to a relationship and if she's not sure she wants to be in it for the long haul it might be best for both of them if she got out now.

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 06-Aug-13 21:57:21



My long term partner knows and is fine with it.

This bloke, I just knew he wouldn't be iyswim. It's nothing to be ashamed of and I knew he would make me feel ashamed. He had to go.

idiuntno57 Tue 06-Aug-13 22:01:46

ffs being with the right PERSON can make you happy
If you care for each other you work through issues WHATEVER they are (my DP has mother from hell). You don't write someone off before you've a chance to get to know each other or on the half arsed advice from some very misguided mumsnetters.

SneakyNuts Tue 06-Aug-13 22:03:38

For every arsehole on here, there are hundreds of you that give me hope smile thanks

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Tue 06-Aug-13 22:04:58

This thread has made me reflect on what has made relationships fail in the past and it's usually the things my partner hasn't seen for to share with me that have mucked things up, some small, some big. The things they've been honest about have mattered less. And also yhe things they didnt kniw about themselves. The biggest thing my dh and I have had to deal with, neither of us could have guessed at.

Jossysgiants Tue 06-Aug-13 22:07:01

I can see there is a previous thread by this op which indicates she herself has experienced mental health issues.

Samu2 Tue 06-Aug-13 22:55:44

Thank you Hermonie.

It doesn't make it easier that we have five children (three from a previous marriage) and two of them have SN's.

He has never once stopped taking his meds. He has seen the fall out from his friends when that happened and it scared him.

TroublesomeEx Tue 06-Aug-13 23:01:29

It would be a red flag to me because I don't have the greatest MH myself. I've got a very limited support network and 2 children who have been through quite enough.

I wouldn't want to have a relationship with a man who had been hospitalised for MH issues.

It might not be an issue for other people and that's fair enough, but for me, in my situation, it would be.

TroublesomeEx Tue 06-Aug-13 23:11:12

Not a red flag in the 'this person will be an abuser' sense.

But a red flag in that 'this relationship might require more of me than I am in a position to give'.

And that wouldn't be fair on any of us.

Coffeenowplease Tue 06-Aug-13 23:22:47

Im so glad a few more people turned up thinking this was awful. I felt like it was just a few lone voices earlier on.

I dont think Ive been personally upset/offended by a thread before. This has really made me sad. I wish there wasnt so much stigma but because there is I wont be talking to anyone anytime soon.
Even some of my closest friends have no idea I have MH issues because even normal educated people react like this. sad

Coffeenowplease Tue 06-Aug-13 23:27:24

Even from posters I previously respected too.

JaffaMyCake Tue 06-Aug-13 23:36:59

Woah woah woah! The reason I asked this question is because I often see problematic relationships on the relationships board where people say "he clearly has MH issues" and view it as a huge red flag!

To the poster who said that I've had previous MH issues - that is correct, and if I am entirely honest I'm not 100% sure whether or not that has contributed to the very recent breakdown of my marriage. I sometimes wonder if I am in fact a 'red flag'.

In all honesty this thread has changed my opinion on the matter, there have been a great deal of helpful comments that have shown MH illnesses are not a signpost for abuse!

I understand this is an emotive topic but there is no need for some of the personal attacks that have been made on this thread.

JaffaMyCake Tue 06-Aug-13 23:38:11

And YY to folkgirl your second post was more along the lines of what I was thinking.

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 06-Aug-13 23:41:53


I hope my post didn't offend you. My point (personally) was that I find it odd he will admit something many would struggle with (spending time in hospital due to MH problems) but not say what the problem was.

I'm not coming from the perspective of somebody untouched by MH issues. My own tends to make people be dissmissive ("eating problem aka attention seeking" hmm) rather other MH issues that make people "uncomfortable". Neither reaction is ideal.

One day MH issues won't be any more out of the ordinary than cancer or a broken limb hopefully.

FloweryOwl Tue 06-Aug-13 23:44:17

I don't think it's a red flag in itself. He's getting help for whatever is troubling him. It doesn't mean he is dangerous because he has been on a mh ward.

I've been admitted to a mental health ward twice, when I was 19 & 21. Some people seem to think they are full of lunatics but it's not the case at all. I've met some great people. Most people there are to protect them from themselves.

I'm only 23 and I'm always going to have MH issues. I go to counselling and cognitive therapy.

I don't care if people think I am crazy! I think I'm doing pretty well for a crazy person! I'm a student midwife, I have an amazing husband who has his own business, I have two great kids. I'm a good mum & I have great friends.
So just because someone has needed help at some point doesn't mean red flags.

auntmargaret Tue 06-Aug-13 23:47:55

It would be a red flag to me. Sorry. It would indicate that things might be more difficult than they are, ordinarily. That's common sense, imo.

Alisvolatpropiis Tue 06-Aug-13 23:52:06

Ordinarily to who auntmargaret?

Any idea what the average number of people who have a mental health issue their life time is?

lottieandmia Tue 06-Aug-13 23:54:56

'It would indicate that things might be more difficult than they are, ordinarily.'

Most people get ill at some point in their life. 1 in 3 people will sadly get cancer. I really don't understand this kind of ignorance. Not to mention that you don't have to have mental health problems to have difficulties in life!

FloweryOwl Tue 06-Aug-13 23:59:44

I have friends that don't have mental health issues that are in relationships that are volatile and abusive. I have friends with no mental health issues that hate their partners, who can't hold a job down, who can't keep friendships etc.
My relationship is blissful, my life is happy.
So how is it common sense that my life should be more difficult that 'normal' peoples lives?

TroublesomeEx Wed 07-Aug-13 00:40:52

Oh yes, I wouldn't think it made someone dangerous or unstable or anything negative like that, just that there might be times when i'd be expected to be extra strong for them, and I don't think I could do myself, a partner or my children justice in that situation.

lottie it isn't ignorance for me. My husband had a slow burning breakdown which contributed to some of his behaviours leading to our separation. They impacted negatively on all of us and one of my children ended up receiving a referral to outside agencies to help them deal with the impact of it. My mother's mental health problems have blighted mine and my brother's life and my own mental health problems have created problems for myself and other people.

Yes of course other illnesses can occur and arise, but I wouldn't knowingly go out with someone who already had any serious illness because I wouldn't be confident I could support them in the way a partner should because of my limited support network and other issues. e.g. I have no one to look after my children if I needed to visit someone in hospital, I am on ADs for anxiety and depression and have been on and off for the past 20 years.

I've lived with that particular black dog in one guise or another on and off my whole life.

I've been out with people who have had MH problems, I've never shied away from it. But going forward, it is something that I would avoid, but not because I'd think negatively of or towards the person.

Who knows, I suppose, like everything else, I'd judge a situation and a person on its/their own merits. But I'd be lying if I said it wouldn't be an extra layer of consideration.

lottieandmia Wed 07-Aug-13 01:50:18

All people do get ill though and 1 in 4 people will suffer with a MH problem. I don't see how anyone realistically thinks they'll be able to have a relationship with someone who has no problems - everyone has problems at some time of some sort.

Of course mental health problems create challenges in the lives of those who have them sometimes and in those around them. But I don't see how that should be a red flag and find it sad that so many people have this prejudice.

Angloamerican Wed 07-Aug-13 04:01:08

OP, I understand why you have the concerns you do, just as I agree with folkgirl's second post. I think many MH would be a deal breaker for me, simply because from my experience dealing with relatives with MH problems, I know what a strain they can place on the strongest of relationships.

I think we all have a sense of "what we can handle", iyswim, and I don't think MH issues are on my "can deal with" list. Just as, for example, if a man had children from a previous marriage, that would be a deal-breaker for me. That doesn't make me bigoted, or any of the other insults that have been tossed in the OP's direction, just realistic about what I am able to give and what I need in a relationship.

TroublesomeEx Wed 07-Aug-13 06:31:18

I think the thing is for me, lottie, is that I wouldn't end an established relationship because of MH or any other illness, because what you say is perfectly correct!

But it would be an extra layer of consideration when deciding whether to begin a relationship with someone.

But that's not because of some unfounded prejudice. It's because I know my own MH can be fragile and from now on I'm going to prioritise that over everything because it's what my children need. That's why it would be a 'red flag' for me.

And would I tell someone about it? I have always been very honest. It's never been an issue. But I know that, because of my MH issues, I haven't always made the best choices in partner anyway!

calmingtea Wed 07-Aug-13 07:03:25

MH issues aside, the fact the stay in hospital was recent and that he won't disclose the reasons why - are in fact relevant. If you are comparing MH issues to physical health, in both cases you need time to heal and recover and perhaps if the stay was very recent he may not in the best place to be starting a brand new relationship. Also any relationship should have honesty and if he is not being honest, and by refusing to talk about it he isn't, then there are gaps in trust. I think it is not discriminating on MH issues on those grounds. If you are going to start a relationship with anyone the new partner deserves to know what they are letting themselves in for.

TroublesomeEx Wed 07-Aug-13 07:12:54

Yes, absolutely calming.

Right at the start of the thread people were saying he had a right to some privacy. And whilst that is a fair comment, by the same token people also have a right to know who they are entering into a relationship with.

Moxiegirl Wed 07-Aug-13 07:37:23

I agree folk girl. My feelings are not from ignorance, totally the opposite. I have suffered severe anxiety and been on medication, my son has OCD, my daughter various serious enduring issues and is in hospital. My ex has a psychotic illness.
I'm with a man now who has in the past been on anti-d's, but should we ever separate and I'm in the position to be in another relationship, I would not knowingly enter a relationship with someone who has severe enduring mental illness because I could not cope. I wouldn't with someone who has small children either, as I have 2 little ones of my own.

mamadoc Wed 07-Aug-13 08:02:15

Nope, still discriminatory-unless you would all apply the same caution to someone with a physical illness.

Physical illness can bring just as much trouble and stress. Various of my acquaintances have type 1 diabetes (need lifelong insulin injections), severe migraines, Crohn's disease and epilepsy. These have brought the need for medications, hospitalisation in some cases and restrictions in life eg can't drive, need to avoid triggers. They have definitely needed increased support from their partners when unwell and yet no-one suggests they are 'a risk' or too much trouble to have a relationship with.

cory Wed 07-Aug-13 08:07:52

To me, there is a massive difference between saying "for personal reasons I couldn't cope with a partner with MH issues (or diabetes or mobility problems)" and blithely informing a friend that she ought to see a certain problem as a red flag. Which is what the OP was about.

Moxiegirl Wed 07-Aug-13 08:09:04

People can have a relationship or not, for various reasons, it's entirely up to them. I wouldn't be enter a relationship with someone who needed lots of physical care either due to my circumstances and my commitments to my children especially my eldest daughter.

Moxiegirl Wed 07-Aug-13 08:10:11

But yes the op was badly worded and I don't agree with the red flag concept as that implies danger.

While it is interesting to read the posts from people who have had first hand experience of their own or their partner's mental illness (my experience is with a blood relative many years ago, so a bit different) and I can quite see why some would approach this situation with caution, I still think that with the facts in the OP alone, ie recent admission to psych ward for reasons as yet undisclosed is not enough to be a red flag for me. The reasons, once disclosed, could be.

TroublesomeEx Wed 07-Aug-13 08:22:46

mama that I would apply the same caution to someone with a physical illness.

But there are differences.

My exH had haemophilia, migraines, chronic chest problems, partial deafness and poor vision. Of course they brought extra consideration/'trouble' and, in some cases, stress, to the relationship - hospitalisation, appointments, medication etc, triggers, sometimes huge restrictions but these were all predictable and manageable within the relationship (however frustrating for both of us at times). And yes, there times when they didn't impact on us much and other times when we arranged our lives around them.

His deteriorating mental health, complete lack of insight into it and resulting behaviour was what brought our relationship to an end.

So it would be a consideration for me.

But cory is right. I wouldn't suggest it should be an issue for someone else.

lottieandmia Wed 07-Aug-13 08:51:26

I really do not feel that this thread would exist if the man in question had had a physical illness and that's the problem. The OP mentions abuse, as if people with mental health issues are often violent and that just isn't true.

I think that's hugely discriminatory, I couldn't disagree more. You do know that a third of people will experience a mh problem in their lifetime? It is something that effects all sorts of people from all walks of life.

'Red flag' tends to indicate a sign someone will be abusive within a relationship. It is a tiny proportion of people with a mh problem who are violent (and plenty of people without a mh problem are violent too).

YAB totally U.

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 07-Aug-13 09:17:13

I'm with Lottieandmia. I know the OP has admitted she's had her opinion changed but I am still cross that this thread had been allowed to stand with little input from MNHQ. It is disablist and if it were about a person with a physical impairment, it would be long gone.

PrettyKitty1986 Wed 07-Aug-13 09:17:40

I think the ops got a really rough deal here.

In a perfect world, of course nothing would be a red flag - any individual we met we'd take them at face value, whatever problems they have/had, we'll hold hands and deal with them together, treat every one the same...

That's not hugely realistic though is it? If my df of 9 years developed a mh problem then I would 100% stand by him, give him whatever support he needed. He means enough to me that i'd put up with nearly anything.

If I went on a date and discovered that this nearly unknown person had mental health issues that they wouldn't discuss? That's fine - their perogative - as it is mine to walk away. Neither should be villianised for it. There are a few things that now, I would not want to deal with in a relationship. The increased potential for future mh problems (increased because of a persons history) is just one of them.

AnneNonimous Wed 07-Aug-13 09:18:56

I have been sectioned before. I don't mind sharing that information with people but I won't go into full detail with new people as I won't trust them to know such personal details about me yet. I am in no way dangerous.

livinginwonderland Wed 07-Aug-13 09:26:38

Well, it depends why he was there. I have clinical depression and anxiety and DP has dealt with depression in the past and has been, thankfully, extremely supportive and caring.

It's good that he has been honest. It's very hard to open up about MH issues because SO many people are judgemental about it and decide you're crazy or weak or a failure and won't go anywhere near you once they know. Give him time, and I'm sure he'll explain and then let her make her mind up for herself.

Not all MH patients are abusive or violent or anything like that. They just struggle and sometimes need professional care. There's nothing wrong with that.

LucyTheLittlestLioness Wed 07-Aug-13 09:29:40

PrettyKitty I thought the implication here was that people were mostly referring to wanting to know about a current or recent MH issue? Your last few sentences sound like you think any MH issues ever you would want to know about and would discount a relationship on that basis? Really?

PrettyKitty1986 Wed 07-Aug-13 09:34:24

I suppose that would depend on your definition of 'recent'.

I haven't said that I would discount a relationship with someone who had any mh issues, however long ago.

But I WOULD view a history of mh issues as a 'red-flag' (seeing as that's the term that's been used here) and it would make me think twice before getting involved.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Wed 07-Aug-13 09:43:07

I've been thinking about all of this and it is the use of the word red flag with respect to a particular problem someone's having that seems wrong. Are there things that would scare me off getting into a relationship with someone that I hadn't already fallen in love with? Yes. More than likely. Could I categorise those and make a general "x problem is a red flag, y problem isn't" statement? No. There are things I am glad I didn't know about dh before I'd got to know him properly because they might have got in the way of me doing so. Are they now deal breakers? Good god no.

candycoatedwaterdrops Wed 07-Aug-13 09:53:45

PrettyKitty Would you walk away from someone who was a wheelchair user and view that as a 'red flag'?

idiuntno57 Wed 07-Aug-13 10:11:35

i just can't get over the terrible bigotry of many posters on here. The OP was utterly in the wrong ti suggest that a stay in hospital was a reason to discount a potential BF. if he had been in for a toe op we'd all be going wtf. There is a hint of mental health and the OP implies violence and lifelong misery. Some of the most influential people of the last couple of centuries have had MH issues Churchill for one. Would you discount him OR look at his track record as a prime minister?

Pah I can't bear bigots and they make the lives of millions of people so much harder because we are forced to live a lie.angry

TroublesomeEx Wed 07-Aug-13 10:23:22

I have MH issues and they're not particularly 'bad'. I've never been hospitalised, I'm not on particularly strong medication, I'm not dangerous.

But, I can be 'hard work' at times because of it. I wouldn't want someone to just blindly walk into a relationship with me thinking it wouldn't be an issue because sometimes it is, and I would need the person I'm with to be strong enough to handle it.

How is that bigoted?

ButThereAgain Wed 07-Aug-13 10:33:26

Of course its true, folkgirl, that mental health issues in a future partner are a consideration to take seriously: they are one among many facets of a person that help you decide whether they are the one for you. I don't think anyone would deny that. It can be very difficult to be involved with someone who is suffering mental health problems. And of course it can be very difficult to help them, or avoid making life worse for them: you need to decide if you are good enough, strong enough, patient and kind enough.

BUT those were not the concerns the OP raised. She raised worries about abuse and danger, just on the basis of a stay in a mental hospital. That is what "red flag" means. It was shockingly stigmatising.

ButThereAgain Wed 07-Aug-13 10:41:34

Actually, if a possible partner mentioned to me that they had been in a mental hospital, I would be concerned for their sake but I would also be interested and very open. It would suggest to me, among other possibilities, that the person was far more interesting, sensitive, open to himself, creative, than others. If it did seem to be a negative, then I think that would only be if there were other elements of the person that I felt badly about: my interpretation of the person as a whole would be signalling to me whether his strengths and weaknesses were ones I would seek or ones that I would avoid.

lottieandmia Wed 07-Aug-13 10:49:38

But having mental health issues yourself doesn't exclude the possibility that you could be prejudiced against others with MH issues. In my family there are a lot of us who have had mental health issues - my dad has been ill on and off all his life with his own and yet when I was a child, I remember he repeatedly pointed a man out to me who we would see walking around town and say 'That man's a schizophrenic'. How awful that he saw fit to reduce him to this one label, particularly as he had been ill himself and should understand.

lottieandmia Wed 07-Aug-13 10:51:37

The point here is 'major red flag' written in the title of this OP. I don't think it is right that MNHQ has let this stand without comment tbh.

youarewinning Wed 07-Aug-13 10:57:46

He has been open and honest about being admitted for psychiatric help.

He has every right to privacy and not say exactly why.

I think the fact he's been honest and told your friend shows him in a good light - that he's not afraid to admit when he's struggling and needs help.

Quite the opposite of a red flag IMO.

WooWooSister Wed 07-Aug-13 11:51:38

My df had MH issues and was abusive. When I was a child I promised myself I wouldn't ever live with someone with MH issues ever again. However, as I grew up, I realised that he had MH issues and was abusive. They were two separate issues. As a child, I'd confused and conflated the two issues.

So being in hospital isn't a red flag, having MH issues isn't a red flag.

It's naive to think long-term medical conditions don't impact on a relationship. Of course they do. I have a dear friend whose partner has MS, she had to consider how that would impact on their life, and if she could commit to giving the support he was going to need. Her dsis was quite clear that she wouldn't be able to have a relationship with someone with MS. My friend thought she could and they've had a long and happy relationship.

We have to take our personalities into account when entering a new relationship but it is sad that you did associate MH issues with violence.

JaffaMyCake Wed 07-Aug-13 12:03:09

I have reported the thread and asked for the title to be changed. Come on MNHQ sad.

I really didn't mean to cause offence.

KateSMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 07-Aug-13 12:45:17


I have reported the thread and asked for the title to be changed. Come on MNHQ sad.

I really didn't mean to cause offence.

Have just replied to your mail Jaffa smile

KateSMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 07-Aug-13 12:59:34

Hi everyone,

Apols for not posting last night - we should have, given the number of reports.

We do understand why some of you are a bit concerned, but we feel that seeing as the OP appeared to be looking to clarify her opinion, this thread is a great example of how the collective wisdom of MN can help elucidate and debunk a lot of myths around contentious subjects.

JaffaMyCake Wed 07-Aug-13 13:34:40

YY to Kate - this thread has definitely helped educate! (Me in particular)

JohFlow Wed 07-Aug-13 13:44:00

Not everyone who has be in psych. has a history of being 'abusive' to other people/ outwardly acting. Some people struggle inside themselves and recognise that they need help. I would be curious if I was his gf; but it is also his choice if/how/when he reveals. I think she has to make he own decisions and see how he is from day to day. There is also the thing that he has now been discharged and that usually means that he has been seen by a range of consultants/doctors that agree he is ready (the only side-line to this is if he discharged himself). It takes a lot of guts to reveal that you have had a past history of MH problems and I think this chink of honesty should be celebrated.

Jossysgiants Wed 07-Aug-13 13:50:26

* jaffa* you have had a hard time on this thread. You were coming from a good place in caring for a friend imho and yes maybe your choice of words was unfortunate, but not out of unkindness. I'm glad there has been the opportunity for movement of opinion though. My closest friend has suffered horribly with an episodic mental illness with periods of psychosis for the last 20 years. He is now in a stable relationship with a fantastic partner, but has been totally honest about his background. It would be naive to think that an illness of this kind is not going to have any impact on their lives. There is every chance there will be future episodes of Hospitalisation and this is something his partner has to be prepared for. But it's as much about the importance of honesty as well as the mental illness itself IMO.

meanderingalong Wed 07-Aug-13 14:00:38

I have MH issues and I see my CPN and consultant psych every month, though I've never been an inpatient (though I was given the option of being admitted on a voluntary basis but chose not to). My MH issues have definitely had an impact on my relationship with DH and I know that not everyone would have the patience to deal with my behaviour sometimes, so I recognise that for them it would be better to walk away. I'm not at all violent or verbally abusive but I can get very demotivated, struggle with some social situations, organisation and every day tasks.

I haven't worked for years because of it, although I get some DLA, but it means that he pays for almost everything. It means he has to pick up where I can't always pull my weight, and some people just want a fully equal partnership, with no stress or hassle. I am definitely hard work to be with sometimes, thankfully DH thinks it's worth it to be with me, but for someone who isn't emotionally invested yet and perhaps can't afford to pay for all the household expenses, I can see it would be easier to walk away.

EstelleGetty Wed 07-Aug-13 15:59:47

I had been seeing DH for 4 weeks or so when he told me he had bipolar disorder and had been hospitalised a few times because of it. I knew already that I wanted to be with him and it made no difference to me. I did tell my mum in confidence. She, as many others would have done, asked if I was sure I could handle it. It wasn't a mean or prejudiced question, she was looking out for me, as you are for your friend. DH would later tell me the hospitalisations were due to two suicide attempts. None of this 'scared me off.'

Fastforward 6 years, now we're married and I have been very ill at times with MH issues. Very ill. Between us, we've pushed through the bad times together and the good times are more than worth it.

I think you've had a tough time on this thread, OP, but I am so glad that so many posters have been able to open up about the realities of living with a mental illness, or someone you love having it.

DH is so much better now. He hasn't had to take meds in years and his manic/down phases are few and far between. I'm still struggling and have been suicidal at points over the past few years, but I feel that we have a real level of empathy with each other, and neither of us would want to be with anyone else. A MH diagnosis doesn't have to be a red flag at all, but of course it's different for everyone.

GreenSkittles Wed 07-Aug-13 18:17:43

My DM has severe mental health problems, she is on a voluntary section, and has been for more than a decade. I don't know if that gives me any credibility to speak on this, probably not!

But I absolutely would want to know what someones issues were, if I was considering being in a serious relationship with them. Mental health problems can take over not just the sufferer's life, but their loved one's too.

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