05/02/2016 12:16 GMT | Updated 05/02/2017 05:12 GMT

How to Talk to Your Male Partner About Depression

Following the latest ONS statistical update on suicide, it is clear that depression in men is a continuing concern that needs addressing.

Spotting the signs of depression can be difficult - especially if your partner is unlikely or unwilling to talk about how they're feeling. But severe depression can make a man feel helpless or worthless - and it may get worse without treatment.

While it can be difficult to raise the subject with somebody you care about, these five steps may be helpful to bring this awkward subject into the open.

1. Don't blame them. Depression is nobody's fault and your partner might be confused and angry that they feel this way too - or simply unaware of how they're projecting themselves. If you try to raise the topic with them, make it clear that you don't hold them responsible for their mood or behaviour.

2. Work out positive changes together. It may be that their depression has been brought on by a specific event or recurs with a particular trigger. If possible, sit down with them and try to work out how you can tackle the situation together.

3. Tell them they're not alone. Although living with someone experiencing depression can be draining and frustrating, increasing their feelings of isolation will not help. Reminding them that you love them and that you are willing to help may give them the feeling of support they need to start taking some positive steps.

4. Acknowledge that you may not always understand how they are feeling. Likening what they're experiencing with a time you felt down yourself might be perceived to be trivialising their situation and could be counterproductive.

5. Point them in the direction of help. If possible, broach the possibility of visiting a GP or mental health professional. Guiding him in the right direction could be the push that he needs to accept his feelings and seek professional help.

Just like physical illness, depression should be treated quickly - and with the right treatment.