Who can help me?
Obtaining support usually involves telling someone what has happened. Given the nature of the concerns there is understandably a tendency to put off disclosure.
Common anxieties which prevent disclosure are fear of rejection, being negatively judged, stigmatisation, and employment problems, as well as concerns for the impact upon others. However, not disclosing can have its own costs.
Partners may feel stressed by keeping such a secret and feel guilty that they are unable to tell those important to them. This can lead to physical and mental health problems, such as loss of sleep and appetite, anxiety and depression, social withdrawal, and taking time off work, which in turn creates other stresses.
In our experience for those partners whose circumstances mean that others are informed of the arrest, these stressors can reduce more quickly, enabling them to have discussions with, and receive support from, trusted others. Research suggests this is key to facilitating better coping. So, if possible, don’t ‘struggle in silence’.
Partners or family member sometimes find it useful to gain support from the following types of people:
- A close family member
- A close friend
- A supportive work colleague
- A family doctor
- A counsellor
We would encourage partners and other family members to try and identify someone they could recieve some support from, whilst also being clear that this is not something that needs to be disclosed to everyone in their lives. It is important to choose a person you can trust and you feel will be able to offer you that support.