People Are Sharing The Worst Advice They've Been Given About Mental Health, And It's Horribly Familiar

James Felton 08 May 2018, 14:40

Mental health has long been something that hasn't been talked about publicly. We're getting there, with people being more open and honest about it in public, but it's slow progress.

Which is why it's good when people start sharing their stories openly.

On Sunday Hattie Gladwell, a health and lifestyle writer for Metro, shared the worst advice she'd been given about her mental health, and urged others to do the same.

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Using the hashtag Things People Have Said To Me About My Mental Illness, people have been sharing the worst advice they've received. It's led to a lot of people opening up about their own experiences, and has been horribly enlightening about how widespread the ignorance surrounding mental health is.

To start off, there were some classics of the "pull yourself together" genre.

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Which implies both that your mental illness is your fault, and that you could easily pull yourself out of it if you were only willing to try. A strategy that anyone with experience of mental illness will tell you, is not something that will suddenly make your illness go away.

One person received the advice "stop having panic attacks", which we're guessing didn't instantly cure her panic attacks.

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It seems this is just the tip of the iceberg. 

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Unfortunately, it appears that medical professionals can be just as bad at advice as laypeople. 

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If not worse.

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Worryingly, it seems that a lot of people are told that the medication they've been put on to help with their mental illness is to blame for their mental illness.

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Or that the reasons why they are depressed are invalid.

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Several people seem to have received a "mental illness terrible advice bingo full house".

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It seems there's still a lot of misunderstanding of mental illness out there, and it's helping no one. Nevertheless, a lot of it probably isn't from active malice but from a lack of understanding of the issues.

So if you know someone who is suffering from mental illness, what can you do to help? First of all, try to avoid any of the cliches listed above. They won't help your friend/loved one. Next, do your research.

Mentalhealth.org.uk offers some great advice on how to talk to someone with a mental illness, provided they want to talk to you about their mental health.

"Let them share as much or as little as they want to," they write. "Don't try to diagnose or second guess their feelings.

"You probably aren’t a medical expert and, while you may be happy to talk and offer support, you aren’t a trained counsellor. Try not to make assumptions about what is wrong or jump in too quickly with your own diagnosis or solutions."

Their guide offers a lot more useful advice and is well worth checking out if someone you know is suffering from mental health issues. 

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