Mental health awareness facts and tips

07/29/18 Healthy living

What is a mental illness? How do you talk with someone about their mental health?

Mental health is an important issue in all communities. That’s why for Minority Mental Health Awareness Month in July, we want to call attention to the disparity in access to mental health services and empower you to make a positive difference. Here’s what you need to know to make a difference in someone’s life.

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Tip 1

Although cultures differ in how receptive people are to discussing personal health issues, in general you should follow the lead of the person reaching out to you. Non-judgmental, supportive listening is a good rule of thumb in nearly all cases.

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Tip 2

Most of us are not trained to treat mental illness. If someone reaches out to you to say they are depressed for instance, they don’t want or need you to solve their problem. Your understanding and caring support is all that is needed. Trying to name, diagnose, or compare the way someone is feeling is something best left to the experts.

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Tip 3

Avoiding language that implies that a person’s feelings are wrong or weird or flawed sounds easy, but our everyday language has some pre-programmed biases built in. That’s crazy right? See, that’s what we mean. 

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Tip 4

Over a quarter of us will deal with a mental health issue at some point in our lives. Every conversation reduces the stigma a little more. Be open to discussion and together we can take the power away from these debilitating diseases.

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Tip 5

You wouldn’t tell someone to, “Shake off your cancer” or, “Just forget about that heart attack and get with the program,” right? Mental illnesses are just as debilitating and just as common. Your knowledge is a powerful tool in reducing the stigma of mental illness.

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