5 things you must avoid saying to anyone battling mental illness

Published on: 14 June 2022, 13:12 pm IST

If you're going to talk to someone who has a mental illness, don't say these things to them, as it can be harsh on them.

Aayushi Gupta
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mental illness
Mental health issues are no joke! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Mental health is being spoken about today more than ever before. Still, people fear disclosing their mental health issues for fear of being labelled “weird” or being excluded. That is a major reason why no one knows how to deal with people suffering from mental illnesses.

Due to that, sometimes we don’t even realize whatever we may be saying tends to be harsh. A person struggling with mental health issues can be sensitive. That’s why it is always important to know the right things to say to your loved ones with mental illnesses. So, to avoid being insensitive towards a person who seems troubled, read what an expert has to say.

Dr Jyoti Kapoor, Senior Psychiatrist and Founder, Manasthali, spoke to Health Shots about the things that one should never say to somebody suffering from mental health issues. As such, certain things can increase their suffering and can be a bit harsh on them.

Here are the following statements you should avoid:

1. You’re overthinking things

People suffering from mental illnesses are frequently told that they overthink. It leaves a negative impact on the person, who is suffering from mental illness. When a person is struggling in life, overthinking is normal. Instead of saying this, inquire about their concerns, spend some time with them, listen to them, and converse with them. Help them with whatever will make them feel better.

mental illness
Overthinking can take a toll on your mental peace. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. This is just a phase, this too shall pass

This statement is meant to be heartfelt and helpful to people suffering from mental illnesses. However, Dr Kapoor says, “Sometimes, making such statements makes the mental health patient eager about the situation. When things don’t get solved according to their time frame in the mind, they become more depressed and hopeless.” As a result, saying “time heals all wounds” may not be the most productive thing to say.

3. Some people have it worse than you

Remarks like this can lead a person suffering from mental illness to compare themselves to others, which can exacerbate their situation. That’s why you should never, ever compare two situations. It gives the other person the impression that you are unconcerned about their problems that they are going through. Simply listen to them patiently and encourage them to stop comparing themselves to others.

4. Just be positive

Suggesting someone to treat their mental illness with a positive attitude is just an unrealistic thing to ever suggest. “This again isn’t possible when a person is highly depressed. Sometimes toxic positivity is a dysfunctional approach to emotional management that happens when people do not fully acknowledge negative emotions, particularly anger and sadness,” says Dr Kapoor. While there can be certain benefits to practicing positive thinking, it’s not enough to cure mental issues such as depression.

mental illness
Positive talk is a good way to avoid feeling stuck but not always. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

5. You don’t look depressed

If a person suffers from depression and anxiety, they are not able to see that everything will be fine. This can increase their anxiety and worry. According to Dr Kapoor saying this makes the person feel that they are lying about their illness and the person won’t be comfortable sharing his/her feelings with you. Don’t give them a reality check. Just be there, carry a positive attitude, and be careful what you’re saying.

Aayushi Gupta Aayushi Gupta

Candid, outspoken, but prudent--Aayushi is exploring her place in media world.

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