Dear Fiona: How can I get my husband to snap out of his low mood?

19 April 2022

The problem…

“My husband has always been a moody sort, some days good, some days bad. Occasionally in the past he’s had longer bouts, but we’ve always managed to bounce him back from these. Since the start of the pandemic though, these have become more frequent and longer and he also gets angry a lot.

“The last couple of weeks have been really difficult, as he has been in a permanent bad mood. His behaviour has become erratic too. He spends a lot of time on his own, often sleeping for hours alone in our spare bedroom. I am sure I have heard him crying too.

“He’s stopped eating with us as a family and when he does eat, he cooks it himself and most of it is junk food. Some days he comes home from work, ignores me and the children, and just goes to bed.

“I have tried to get him to talk about what’s bothering him, but he won’t or can’t say. It’s tempting to blame the pandemic for all this, but as it seems to be pretty much over in the UK, I am not so sure. Surely, he can’t still be worried about it. What can I do to snap him out of this?”

Fiona says…

“Covid – and our measures to combat it – may or may not be finished in the UK, but its effects on mental health are far from over. Thousands of people are still experiencing deep levels of anxiety and depression, so it’s not surprising that your husband might be similarly affected.

“It’s also possible that the pandemic may only be one of several things that is driving this behaviour – and I suspect it is not something he will be able to simply ‘snap out of’. Whatever role the pandemic has had, one thing is certain – he is displaying some classic symptoms of depression, and his history of low moods in the past suggests he has always been susceptible to this. For this, he certainly needs help.

“Instead of trying to get him to snap out of it, encourage him to seek professional help. Explain that this is impacting all of you, your marriage and family life, and stress that things can’t go on as they are – and there is support out there.

“The charity Mind ( provides support for anyone experiencing a mental health problem. It’s confidential Infoline is on 0300 123 3393 and it has a network of local Mind groups. I would also suggest you encourage him to talk to his GP, who will be able to outline treatments and provide medication if appropriate, as well as referrals for talking therapy and further support.

“Mental health problems cannot be ‘snapped out of’ – they need time, help, counselling, possibly medication. Although he’s not making it easy for you, your husband will need a lot of support to come through this. With his past history, I would suggest ongoing counselling after this particular crisis will also be necessary. For readers in Scotland, additional support is available at the Scottish Association for Mental Health on 0344 800 0550 (”

If you have a problem you need help with, email Fiona by writing to [email protected] for advice. All letters are treated in complete confidence and, to protect this privacy, Fiona is unable to pass on your messages to other readers. Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence.

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