According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 43.8 million adults in the U.S. experience some form of mental illness in any given year. That’s nearly 20 percent of the population. Yet, as prevalent as this might seem, mental health still carries a social stigma as well as a general lack of understanding.
Hattie Gladwell is a lifestyle reporter for MetroUK who has had her own experience with mental illness and wants to change society’s view on the subject. In observance of Mental Health Month, Gladwell posted a tweet asking others to share the most unhelpful or insensitive comments they have received regarding their mental illness, sharing her own as a jumping off point.
In response, people took to Twitter with the hashtag #ThingsPeopleHaveSaidAboutMyMentalIllness in droves and have continued to do so since Gladwell introduced it on May 6. The results have been overwhelming, astonishing and often heartbreaking.
While they are all worth reading, there are many recurring themes in the unkind comments and underhanded remarks made to people who have everything from depression to eating disorders to anxiety and more.
The tweets we’ve included below display some of the most common types of things said, often by loved ones and even medical or mental health professionals.
1. ‘Just Eating’ Won’t Cure An Eating Disorder
2. Being A Neat Freak Isn’t The Same As Having Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
I told someone I had OCD and their reply was "oh so you like to clean then". I said, "no, I struggle with intrusive thoughts and worry about bad things happening". Their reply then was, "oh, so you're just superstitious?" #ThingsPeopleHaveSaidAboutMyMentalIllness https://t.co/deyKPMRiE1
— Lydia (@AlongCameLydia) May 6, 2018
3. Trying To Scare Someone Out Of Postpartum Depression Is Unwise And Unkind
'If you tell the doctor how you're feeling, he'll lock you in a mental hospital with the baby. Then you won't have me to help you.' #postpartumdepression #ThingsPeopleHaveSaidAboutMyMentalIllness pic.twitter.com/RDesb9VoLQ
— Christina Hollis (@ChristinaBooks) May 7, 2018
4. Nobody Chooses Mental Illness
"You make your own cage."
"Where there's a will, there's a way."
"You're doing this to yourself."
— danni | so-and-so started calling me dee (@sourdoughsnob) May 11, 2018
5. Depression Is Much More Than Sadness …
6. And It Can’t Be Overcome Just By Exercising And Being Positive
Here are 4 most common insensitive #ThingsPeopleHaveSaidAboutMyMentalIllness 1)Just think happy thoughts. 2) Exercise will fix you up. 3) You don’t look crazy; I’m sure you’re fine. 4) Stop being such a drama queen.
— Leanne 🇨🇦 (@leelan_oleander) May 12, 2018
7. Seeking Help Is Never A Sign Of Weakness
8. Mental Illness Is Real Illness
— "this is all in your head"
— "just be grateful it's not a real illness like cancer"
— "this is so hard on your parents, try to think about others for a change"
— "just think positively"#ThingsPeopleHaveSaidAboutMyMentalIllness
— em ☾☆ || blm/acab (@emilygayle99) May 13, 2018
9. Guilt Isn’t Helpful
— NinjaTerrier (@MaxTheNinjaDog) May 6, 2018
10. Mental Illness Is Not A Plea For Attention
Bonus: The Right Thing To Say
I've seen many friends tweeting about#ThingsPeopleHaveSaidAboutMyMentalIllness
I want you to know that you are enough, and you don't need to change yourself for anyone.
— Sam Winchester ||Emu Family RP|| (@SamSoGetThis) May 7, 2018
If you or someone you love is struggling with mental illness, help is available. Here are some free resources in the U.S.:
1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Referral Helpline
Call 877‑SAMHSA7 (877‑726‑4727) to receive general mental health information and locate treatment services in your area.
2. Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741 no matter the day or time for any type of crisis. A volunteer crisis counselor will help you.
3. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 800-273-8255 anytime to receive free and confidential support, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved one — or chat online here.
Have you heard any insensitive “advice” when it comes to mental illness?