I am 19, my boyfriend of 7 months is the same age. We have been through a lot together in these few months and I feel I really love him. In the beginning I was the more dominant character, but I am now starting to hand over the reigns and its been going well. We were both very vulnerable in the beginning of our relationship (first year of school abroad) and supported each other.

As I'm spending more time with him, I've learned he has a history of episodes of depression that run in his family. He had a really rough childhood with a lot of bullying, lost friendships, and a very mentally unstable (from his description, it sounds like manic depressive) older sister around whom his household revolved.. Now, his close friends from high school are abandoning him, he is in conflict with his parents over religion, and is going through a really rough/depressive time.

I have had to take more control recently and I am really trying to comfort him and listen to him. I've been cooking for him, bringing him small gifts, laundry, generally making his life easier. Here is where the RP comes in. I want to also give him advice, but I don't know where the line is drawn.

I don't have a lot of experience with mental illness, and I've fought through my own 'bad' periods alone and found my own method for it. He's never had anyone to lean on, but I feel like I'm holding his whole weight now. I have been to one to plan everything we've done together over the past month.

How do I help him without becoming his mother or without him giving up all his control to me? Where is the line where I stop giving him advice (exercise, eat better, be outside, general things)? I would be happy to step down, and I was raised in a very RP environment, so I know what this relationship could look like, but I'm not sure how to do that while still supporting him.

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