Mental Health Etiquette – What Not to Say
Often it can be difficult to speak positively about mental health. If you’re struggling with a mental illness, you may find yourself thinking a lot of negative thoughts and saying hurtful things to yourself and to others. These thoughts can be incredibly debilitating, especially if you don’t know how to deal with them. This article will tell you some tips on how to prevent the negative thoughts from creeping into your head.
Negative or clearly hurtful words
Using negative or clearly hurtful words to describe one’s mental state is a sure fire way to trigger a negative spiral, both in the mind of the person saying them and those who listen to them. While it’s easy to think of someone with a mental illness as weak, suicidal or worse, it’s not always the case. Many people with mental health issues have had positive experiences and can live productive, fulfilling lives. With the right help, people with mental health concerns can enjoy a better quality of life. In fact, there are many different treatments and approaches to consider. Among these are cognitive behavioral therapy and self-help techniques like journaling and cognitive therapy. There are also a number of studies looking at how these techniques affect mental health patients’ well being.
‘I’m not seeing a therapist’
If you are struggling with mental health issues, you may have read self-help articles, sought advice from friends or family, or tried to manage your problem on your own. Whether or not you want to start talking to a therapist, you need to be honest with yourself and commit to making this happen. It can be a challenging and uncertain time.
In the beginning, you may feel uncomfortable revealing certain personal details. But it is important that you feel free to discuss these topics. Your therapist will be able to offer you advice and suggestions on how to proceed. You can also ask him or her to help you find resources or outside sources of support.
Once you are comfortable talking about your problems with a therapist, you need to continue the sessions. Many people have found success with therapy, but a therapist can’t help you if you skip sessions.
‘I’m on medication’
When it comes to the medical field, the most common etiquette is to avoid the word prescription. The name is a misnomer, as the med is not the same as the pill. If you are lucky, you may have your physician refer you to a psychiatrist. Depending on your level of health insurance, you may have to pay for some or all of the treatment. It is always best to consult with your provider before committing to any medical regiment. Regardless of your situation, it is always a good idea to speak to a mental health professional. This can be done by contacting your provider’s office.
‘It’s all in your head’
Mental health is a complicated topic. In fact, up to one-third of Americans suffer from some form of mental disorder. Fortunately, many of these individuals have access to free and confidential help. For example, there are 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline phone lines, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as well as online chat services.
A lot of people may not be aware of this, but the brain is a complex place. There are areas within the brain that affect the susceptibility to mental illness. The amygdala is a central structure involved in the flight or fight response. Typically, individuals with a history of childhood trauma develop larger amygdalas as they move into adulthood.
This is not to say that there isn’t a link between mental health and physical illness. For example, it is very common for people with depression or anxiety to experience headaches and fatigue.
‘I’m less likely to be violent than anyone else’
The question of whether mentally ill individuals are more likely to commit violent behavior is a topic of great debate among scientists. Studies have used self-reported data and official documentation to determine the relationship between mental illness and violence. However, these studies have not been able to find a direct link between the two.
One study found that people with serious mental illnesses were over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than non-psychiatric individuals. Another found that individuals with schizophrenia were 21 times more likely to use a weapon in a fight. A third found that subjects with severe mental illness were three times more likely to commit a violent act than individuals without the disorder.