10 Things People With Mental Illness Are Tired of Being Told


If you live with a mental illness, you might be familiar with some of the hurtful things people often say to those struggling with it. Comments like:

You just need to focus on the positive.

Have you tried meditating?

You need to remember other people are much worse off than you.

Though most of these hurtful comments actually come from good intentions, they can simplify and invalidate the complexities of living with mental illness.

Mental health advocate Hattie Gladwell knows how harmful these comments and others can be for folks struggling with mental illness. To raise mental health awareness and support people with mental illness, Gladwell created the hashtag, #ThingsNotToSayToSomeoneWithMentalIllness on Twitter. The hashtag has been trending for the past few days.

The Mighty reached out to Gladwell to share what she hoped the impact of the hashtag would be.

I created the hashtag to create a conversation about mental health that I feel is much needed. I feel that people struggling with mental illness can often feel isolated and like they can’t speak out or feel comfortable because so many people don’t understand it, and therefore may make really unhelpful or judgmental comments. People with mental illness can’t “get over it.” They can’t just “cheer up.” People need to realize mental illness is every bit as debilitating as physical [illness]. We wouldn’t say “just don’t think about it” to a broken leg, so why is it OK when it comes to mental illness? With this hashtag, I hope it acts as a voice for those struggling, as well as is educational for those who really don’t know what to say.

Check out some of the responses to #ThingsNotToSayToSomeoneWithMentalIllness below:

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While it’s important to talk about what not to say to someone with mental illness, the conversation doesn’t have to stop there. If you’re wondering what you should say to someone struggling with mental illness, we’ve linked some helpful posts below that may give you some good ideas of where to start.

6 Things You Should Say to Someone Who Has Depression

What Not to Say When Anxiety Attacks (and What to Say Instead)

What Not to Say to a Person With Bipolar Disorder (and What You Should)

5 Things Not to Say to Someone Who’s Suicidal — and What to Say Instead


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