We may be telling ourselves that we accept everyone of their mental illness and never want to offend anyone. The truth is that we might be doing or saying things that are making the stigma surrounding mental health worse. It is important to be mindful about the things you say or do to avoid insulting those who are struggling daily with their mental health.
One thing that you can avoid doing is telling someone with a mental illness to snap out of it. It makes it seem like that person’s behavior is their choice when they clearly cannot help it. It is no different than if someone is dealing with chronic pain and they keep yelling whenever it hurts. You would not tell them to snap out of it because you know that they do not want to be in pain or have to cry out in pain but it cannot be helped. The same is true for mental health. You should instead ask someone is feeling and not be so quick to answer back. Just validate what the person is saying. People with mental illnesses tend to feel alone so showing that you would like to listen to them will make a big difference.
Another thing you can avoid doing is treating mental health disorders like adjectives. You might think that you are being funny or accurate when you say things like “The weather is so bipolar today” or “You’re acting very OCD right now.” Remember that all of these disorders you are saying are affecting real people. They might be around you when you say these things out loud and get offended. It shows that we are making light of mental illnesses that people have challenges with and are taking medication for. By better doing your research about these mental illnesses, we can better educate others when mental health is used in an offensive manner.
Lastly, not talking about mental health at all could actually be making the mental health stigma worse. It is possible that someone has said at the table to talk about something else when the subject of mental health has come up. If you have the opportunity to share your story about your experiences, you should do so. Always be cautious with your words and actions as the little things you do or say can make a difference in educating others about mental health.
Located in Huntington Beach, California, Simple Recovery’s mission is to help clients struggling with addiction and mental illness to face their fears, understanding your addiction, and inspiring them to realize how achievable a sober life can be. With the help of a staff with first-hand recovery experience, this evidence-based treatment program includes different modes of recreational therapy for clients and their families in the beautiful surf-city environment. For more information, please call us 888-743-0490 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.