It’s absolutely fantastic that more people are beginning to talk about their mental health more openly than they ever have before. When I read about musicians and public figures such as James Arthur talking about their mental health, I think it’s great because it really does demonstrate that mental illness doesn’t discriminate and no matter what your circumstances are, you can suffer from depression or anxiety.
However there are a few conversations which I think can be damaging to people who are suffering. The ultimate point I want to make here is to just ask you to think about what you are saying.
Your mental health is a very personal and private experience.
Number one sounds like a strange one but bear with me. Everyone with a mental health problem should talk about it. I 100% think talking helps and I’m all for talking about it, however I know everyone isn’t like me. Your mental health is a very personal and private experience and not everyone wants to talk about it to everyone. What we need to be saying here is that people with mental health condition should talk to whoever they want about it, whether this is a doctor, therapist, friend or family member. If they just want to talk to one person about it, then so be it. Imagine feeling depressed and having everyone saying: “you really should talk and open up about this to everyone.” Well no, you don’t have to.
Secondly, now this might be me being pedantic but I’m not a fan of the word stigma in the context of this conversation. 1. Because I think people get sucked into talking more about their being a ‘stigma’ and how awful it is, than actually talking about the subject matter. 2. Because people use it as a way to preach to others, I feel like it can become a way to attack people who don’t understand mental health, rather than including them in the conversation.
Lastly, this is the one that bugs me the most. When people talk about mental health being trendy and say that people who are brave enough to open up about it are just attention seekers who are jumping on the bandwagon. If you are suffering please don’t ever feel like this, the right people will believe and help you.