Indeed, we frequently heard statements such as ‘it would be good to have a girlfriend’ or ‘I am tired of being alone’ during the research.
Others stated that if they wanted a quick exit during an awkward date, they would casually mention they had a mental illness. Some lived in supported housing, such as group homes with strict guest regulations.
This meant they had little money to go dating and were often unable to host romantic interests at home. Some of these issues are explored in the poignant video below about Jennifer, a young woman with mental illness who found love, despite barriers including stigma, homelessness, and unemployment.
Indeed, in our research study, the vast majority of participants with mental illness stated a strong desire for a meaningful and satisfying romantic relationship. While there are many effective ‘supported employment’ interventions for people with mental illness, there is no equivalent ‘supported dating’ intervention.
That said, clinicians can explore and support clients’ relationship goals during routine consults (if this is a client priority).
Dating and love sound great in theory, but with people having so many options available these days at the touch of an app, I don't think I stand much of a chance of finding someone emotionally mature enough to handle my illness.