Living With Others: A Conversation and Further Reading

Catalyst Dialogues (formerly dBs Dialogues) panel talk series at Catalyst Berlin

Journalist Anna Codrea-Rado recaps our dBs Dialogues (now Catalyst Dialogues) mental health panel talk on living with others. Scroll down for the highlights.

Sharing living quarters is a universal experience. From living at home with family members, to sharing an apartment with a partner or spouse, negotiating communal dwelling is something everyone can relate to. It’s also a core part of the student experience, when you often find yourself living with strangers or away from home for the first time. Besides navigating the practicalities of communal living – being considerate of others, rotating the cleaning – there’s also the mental health of yourself and those you live with to think about.

At a recent event at dBs Berlin [now Catalyst], part of the school’s ongoing Dialogues series, panelists discussed the challenges of looking after your own mental health while living with others. Facilitated by Christa Walley, Ableton’s Artist Relations Manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, panelists Lyra Pramuk, a singer, composer-producer, and performance artist; Florian Goldberg, a philosophical advisor and coach; Jon Doig, a Creative Audio Production & Sound Engineering student; and Fergus Findlay, an Electronic Music Production & Performance student, shared their experiences of living with others and offered practical advice to the audience.

"The analogy was used of putting one’s own oxygen mask on first as an example of how it’s important to look after one’s own needs before helping others"

Honing in on the issue of whether sharing space with those suffering from mental health issues affects one’s creativity, the group discussed the wider issue of most people not really knowing how to help someone who is struggling. Panellists were in agreement that help can only really be offered to those who are ready to accept it.

The point was also raised that often a need to help others comes from one’s own issues. The desire to solve someone else’s problems for them can be a sign there is something else at play, raising the question of whether it is really about helping them or making yourself feel better.

A key theme that emerged in the talk, and a trend raised during previous Dialogues panels, was self-care. The analogy was used of putting one’s own oxygen mask on first as an example of how it’s important to look after one’s own needs before helping others. The best care for others comes from a place of strength.


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Practical advice for living with others

Practical arrangements in a shared house: What to think about at the beginning of tenancy agreement

How to be a good roommate: a listicle of things to think about when sharing an apartment

23 tips for living with roommates: advice from those who’ve been there


Articles about the experience of living with others

What Life in a House Share is Like When you Have Mental Health Issues: article about what it’s like to share with others when you suffer from mental illness


Helping others

How to help someone else: The UK mental health charity Mind has a list of advice on how to help others around you suffering from a range of mental health disorders

What to do when you’re living with a depressed roommate: Advice from Healthline

How to support a depressed partner while maintaining your own mental health

What Not to Say to Your Depressed Roommate


Self-care tips

Headspace: Meditation and mindfulness app

Calm: Meditation and mindfulness app

The sponge people: how to protect yourself from taking on the stress of other people’s problems