Mental Illness | XL Drug Rehab Blog

What Not to Say to Someone With a Mental Illness

Posted on 22. Mar, 2016 by in Disorders

Mental Health | XL Drug Rehab Blog

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words mental illness? Unfortunately, there is a stigma surrounding mental illness that prevents those who have a mental health disorder from seeking the treatment they need. Some people tend to say a lot of tough things to people with a mental illness while others will tease and make downright despicable remarks. According to research, 1 in every four households has a mentally ill person. This means that there’s a really good chance that you know someone with a mental health condition.  The first step towards destigmatizing mental illness is talking about it. However, many people might not know the right way to talk about mental illness or what to say to those who suffer from a mental health problem. Here are a few sentences that you should avoid when talking to someone with a mental illness and what you should say instead.

Things not to Say to Someone With a Mental Illness

  • “It’s all in your head, get over it”– this remark is not only insensitive but arrogant, ignorant and insensitive.
  • “Pray about it”– while it is okay to seek divine intervention in times of crisis and illnesses, telling someone to pray about their illness is a tad ignorant. Have you considered that maybe that is the first thing they did and still did not find any solace, or maybe they do not believe in prayer and shoving it down their throats can only worsen the situation.
  • “Change your Attitude”-it is true, a change of attitude can go a long way in controlling mental illness. However, conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar, OCD, ADHD need more than just a change of attitude because attitude change is not as easy as it sounds.
  • “Happiness is a choice”– no one likes being sad, and this statement makes people with a mental illness feel inadequate. Inadequate of making a choice to be happy and this can only aggravate an already bad situation.

Things to Say to Someone With a Mental Illness

  • “Have you thought of seeking professional help,”some people have no idea that their condition calls for professional attention, and if you can guide them towards that path, you are half-way to helping them
  • Express genuine concern and use kind words such as“it must be awful having panic attacks.”
  • Offer a shoulder to lean on by using words such as“you can always talk to me whenever you feel sad.”

Tip: As opposed to expressing pity and sympathy, treat people with a mental health condition with respect and understanding.


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