How should we talk about mental health?

Banishing the stigma attached to mental health issues can go a long way to facilitating genuinely useful conversations.”

— Vikram Patel, Mental Health Advocate

I love TedTalks. The site provides people with non-political and non-ideological views on so many issues–including mental health. I was sent this TedTalks article by a friend of and I immediately knew I needed to share the wonderful insights of Ted Talks contributor, Thu-Huong Ha. 

In her piece, she asks the question, "How should we talk about mental health?" Ms. Ha then goes on to point out what we all know to be true–the great majority of people simply don't know how to talk about mental health, period.

She offers some straightforward recommendations about how society (RE: All of Us!) can change the mental health dialogue. I find all of her suggestions spot on:

  • Avoid correlations between criminality and mental illness.
  • Do correlate more between mental illness and suicide.
  • Avoid words like “crazy” or “psycho." 
  • Don’t define a person by his/her mental illnesses.
  • Separate the person from the problem.
  • Humor helps, so relax and laugh about your issues it may help solve them.
  • Sometimes the problem isn’t that we’re using the wrong words, but that we’re not talking at all.
  • If you feel comfortable talking about your own experience with mental health, by all means, do so.

The last two suggestion speak to one of the main reasons we have started the "Tell Your Story" campaign on our Mental Health Justice Facebook Page. By telling our stories, we can begin to slay the twin dragons of stigma and judgment. 

Here's my story: