Don’t Tell People With Mental Health Problems This

Mental Health Awareness Month

As you guys know May is Mental Health Awareness Month and therefore I decided to write posts about mental health this whole week. Today I decided to post about “Things You Need To Stop Telling People With Mental Health Problems” because a lot of people may not know how to talk to someone who suffers from mental health problems. Some people may accidentally say something insensitive without realizing it’s insensitive. I thought I would share the things people say most often and why they are the wrong thing to say. Let me know in the comments what the weirdest/most insulting thing someone has told you about your mental health.

“Get over it”

If it was that easy do you think we wouldn’t have just gotten over it? This is a really sad thing to say and if anything it just shows how ignorant you are about mental health and how it works. Telling someone to get over their mental health problems is not only a mean thing to say it’s also something that can have horrible consequences. If the person is already in a very bad state saying something like this could really push them over the edge. Instead of saying something like this try being more empathetic and putting yourself in their shoes. I’ve also noticed that there’s a huge double standard when it comes to empathy for people who have mental health problems. Even though someone may not suffer from the same physical problem they wouldn’t tell someone who has a physical illness to “get over it” so it really annoys me when people say that to someone suffering from a mental illness.

“Don’t be anxious/depressed/etc”

Wow thanks you just cured us… said no one EVER. If it were possible to turn off our mental health problems like that then they would not be a mental health problem. You may not mean any harm when you say this but it can make the person feel like their feelings/emotions/thoughts/problems aren’t real or significant. Instead try being more accepting and say something like “I understand that you may be feeling a certain way and that’s okay. Just know I’m here if you ever want to talk or need help with anything.” That shows that you are taking what the person is going through seriously and not dismissing their feelings.

“You’re just being dramatic”

It is extremely unlikely that someone with a mental health disorder is being “dramatic” or “faking it.” People who are not going through the same thing may not understand what it feels like to have a mental health problem however for people who are experiencing mental health problems can be extremely difficult. It can really bring up a lot of strong emotions that can be very difficult to control.

“There are people out there who have it worse”

Yes there are people out there who probably have it worse, way worse, but that does not mean that someone else isn’t suffering as well. No matter how small or big your problem may be compared to others it’s still a problem and you’re allowed to feel a certain way about it. You can have the perfect life and still be depressed, you can have everything and still be anxious. Mental illness does not discriminate and you should not make people feel guilty for having emotions.

“Everyone feels sad/depressed/etc sometimes”

Yes that’s very true. However, people who have mental health problems deal with something different and much more complicated than the emotions regular people feel. It’s definitely not the same thing and the comparison is a little insulting because again it feels like you are dismissing their feelings. Instead try to me more empathetic and acknowledge their feelings.

Seek Help

If you or someone you know are experiences mental health problems please seek professional health. It can be extremely beneficial to talk to a professional. There are sites that offer online therapy sessions for those who may not be able to go to therapy.
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116 thoughts on “Don’t Tell People With Mental Health Problems This

  1. Great post! I have been loving your posts on Mental Health Awareness Month lately! I think it’s great your advocating for people who need it and it’s great you’re teaching us to be sensitive! Keep going! 💗

      1. Yeah. My last long term relationship has that element in it. She thought really high of me and even admired a lot of qualities but she found it hard to understand me. I explained it where a lot of my weird quirks are from anxiety and experiences in my life and she responded in ways that are on that list. It wasn’t a complaint or asking for help, it was explaining how I feel inside which is why I’m kind of how I am. (On the surface I’m often cold and cool). She’d say “you’re an attractive guy, why does it matter”, “you have to let go of the past”, “you have me so…” lol
        It’s bizarre to be with someone so long who doesn’t get it’s just an attempt to emotionally connect to feel closer. 🤷‍♂️

        1. Yeah I’ve felt like that in a lot of relationships. I don’t think people who don’t have anxiety will ever know what it fully feels like to have anxiety and how it can sometimes make you do weird things.

          1. Yeah. I have anxiety about the dumbest things sometimes and my reactions to it can be weird. I can excessively stoic or flat out crabby. Sometimes I just ignore what’s going on around me.
            If I feel too overwhelmed I can be a bit mean in a crabby way.
            With me it’s mostly social anxiety. I’m highly introverted which is good but it makes it harder to work on it when I’m happy not being too social. If I have a regular social routine it’s fine, I just want my alone recharge time at the end of the day.

            1. I can so relate to that- I get crabby because of my anxiety too and to others it probably just seems like I’m being an ass but in reality it’s anxiety. It’s mostly social anxiety with me too and I really need to recharge as well otherwise the anxiety gets worse and worse.

                  1. Okay, I feel stupid. And what I said reminded me of it, so I found part of the clip. Campbell says a lot about anxiety and fear, he starts to sum it up in the end. Sometimes our anxiety is joy we are afraid to go after. Sorry to overload a comment.. lol..

  2. “There are people out there who have it worse” I always feel like an ant (sorry ants!) whenever I hear these words from someone, like am I not human too? And why is the word ‘compare’ even existing? ✔️

    1. I totally agree- it always makes me feel small when people say that. Exactly- why is it even something that’s being compared!!

  3. I especially dont like the “get over it” statement. People say that like theres a switch where you just say okay I’m done being depressed now. Its hurtful and mean.

    1. Yeah I agree- it’s not something you can just get over. It’s a really mean and ignorant thing to tell someone.

  4. Yup, we think sharing is caring but unfortunately its not because peoples always looking for our weak point to hit us, so stop telling other about you, not only about the mental health but everything… 🙂 nice work, you are doing really well cute girl <3 <3 <3

  5. Not sure it’s always a good idea to seek professional help, especially if the person doesn’t want that and just needs a sounding board. Anyways, what do I know? Not much and made and make loads of mistakes, but I do try and only when I really out of my depth do I shout out for help.

    1. It may not always be a good idea but I think in the majority of the cases it is. Firstly, not everyone who needs professional help may know that they need it like if they are suffering from problems that cause delusions such as schizophrenia or extreme bipolar disorder, Secondly, to get better you need to get diagnosed so you can at least know exactly what you’re suffering from- these diagnoses need to be done by trained professionals. Lastly, a lot of people may not be able to wait till they are really out of their depth because for them it could mean self-harm or much worse. The earlier you seek help the easier it is to get better. That’s just what I feel about the matter but I do understand what you mean and where you’re coming from. Thanks for the comment!

  6. My least favourites are ‘calm down’ or ‘don’t worry’. Although if someone does say that to me, they’re usually only trying to help.

    1. I wonder if instead of “calm down” it could be a way to calm down e.g. … (unfortunately I’ve not got what that might be) and the “don’t worry” now that’s hard, because worry can be like a bonfire in a field that’s nowhere near even a stream, with someone on the phone giving the advice to pour water on it. No one thinks “you know what, today I’m going to worry, that’s my decision” it just happens sometimes, like a summer fire.

  7. I totally agree with you on these – I think these are all just bad to say to anyone who is struggling! I’ve had the whole ‘other people have it worse than you’ many times throughout lockdown, and I disagree with this whole mentality.

    1. Yeah it’s definitely wrong to dismiss people’s feelings. Even though people are going through worse that does not mean what you are going through is insignificant.

  8. The “other people have it worse” is a toxic thing I’ve seen and experienced in the military – most of us put that guilt onto ourselves. The “worse” being those who have been through previous wars, or soldiers who remember serving in the old-er times that weren’t afforded much support or consideration, those with obvious physical injuries… people imply you should feel better by comparing yourself to others, but everyone’s coping mechanisms and threshold for endurable trauma is different. And the self-imposed guilt spiral that happens because we KNOW others have it worse never helps. Nothing about mental illness is quantifiable against others, only against yourself – how you feel today as compared to yesterday, etc…

    1. Although I don’t really know much about what people go through in the military I can understand how that can be so toxic for people who are already traumatized/having mental health problems.

      1. I’m sure it’s comparable to any “tough guy” mentality societal group. Shoot, an example is even when old people counter a child’s complaint with something like, “Back in my day, we walked to school barefoot in the snow, uphill both ways!” That serves to invalidate the child’s complaint because it used to be worse… instead of learning a healthy way to resolve or overcome the cause of complaint, that child is learning to hide their feelings so they don’t get mocked or thought of as weak. Think of the stereotypical collective military mindset as the grumpy old person. That collective mindset is getting better v e r y s l o w l y.

  9. This is good to know, since I certainly don’t know what to say when someone is dealing with a mental health issue. Thank you for the guidance…

  10. It goes wider.
    “You don’t look diabetic.”
    “You look fine, nobody will know you had 12 strokes” while I’m balancing with my walking cane.

    1. Wow that is just very toxic and hurtful. Unfortunately people really don’t know how to respond to people who have mental/physical problems.

  11. This is such an important topic and I thank you for posting it and sharing the information. This will help people so much to know what to say and what not to say it’s very important 🙂

  12. Yeah you are right, triggering someone with mental health issues creates worse problems in many cases which result in addiction plus solitary lifestyles.
    Also in worse cases turning that hurt into hate to become worse than just someone with mental disabilities.

  13. i agree it’s not good to compare at all! I say this to myself tho LOL (there’s people with bigger problems) and my husband tells me its not good to compare to others.
    i agree, but it helps me get over it..
    Get over it is seriously the worst thing to say ever. Instead of using the tiniest bit of energy that you used to say “Get over it” you can say much better things. like, at least, im here for you or something.
    This is really helpful and im glad to see a post like this on my feed <3

    1. Sometimes it helps to tell yourself you don’t have it so bad. As long as it doesn’t turn into a self depreciating thing it’s fine.
      Yeah get over it is a very uncalled for thing to say. It’s so insensitive.
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!!

  14. Looking back at how I have treated a loved one with mental health problems, I feel so guilty and hurt because that’s totally a product of lack of awareness… I wish learning came before I have hurt her with my words (aka, everything you’ve written above)…

    1. I’m sorry to hear that but unfortunately there is so little information. If you had been more aware of these things you would have treated her differently. That’s why we need to talk about mental health as much as possible.

      1. I know, it was really unfortunate… glad she remained strong and I’ve got a lifetime to walk with her on this journey 💕

  15. be. (Oops! Pressed the post button by accident!) There is still such a stigma associated with mental illness, like it’s a weakness or something! Seriously?

    I remember reading a book about twins when I was pregnant with twins and thinking “These moms all have post-partum depression.” I’m not a medical professional, but as someone who’s been there…well I hope they all got help. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. There is no shame in mental illness…at least there shouldn’t be!

  16. Thanks for sharing these tips! I think one more thing we should not say to them is that it is all in their head, it can be pretty annoying to the person.

  17. Lol, I don’t really have mental illness, but I absolutely hate it when people tell me others have it worse just to discount my own bad feelings. Anyway, thanks for this post!

  18. Yep. Those statements are just some of the worst things that you’ll ever say to someone who’s struggling with their mental health. Actually, reading some of it triggers my repressed memories of being invalidated when I’m sharing my thoughts to one of the important person in my life. You’ve written such a wonderful piece. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks and yeah I’ve unfortunately heard so many of those too and it’s quite hurtful. I hope people can learn to be more sensitive. Thanks!

  19. An excellent post Pooja G!

    People do these things unfortunately, because they lack the empathy or knowledge needed to understand the struggles of another, or sometimes because they just don’t want to listen.

    Not just with those struggling with poor health, but with relationships in general. It’s challenging being a good listener and something the world in general needs to work on.

    1. Thank you! Yes, a lot of it comes from ignorance or the inability of listening to others. It would be awesome if we all tried a little harder to work on that.

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