May is Mental Health Month, which means those who have mental illness (as well as allies) are showing their love and support for the community more than usual. However, the occasion has also opened up a separate conversation about mental health — one that's less positive, but still extremely important to discuss.
A UK-based reporter revealed the worst thing someone's said to her about her illness, and urged Twitter to do the same. The results are heartbreaking, eye-opening, and a serious look into society's perception of mental health. However, it's only by acknowledging stigmas that we can shatter them.
Hattie Gladwell, a writer from the UK, began the #ThingsPeopleHaveSaidAboutMyMentalIllness thread with her own story.
"Quote this tweet with the most unhelpful/insensitive thing someone has said to you about your mental illness.
I’ll start: One person told me I didn’t need medication, I just needed to be more motivated to cope with my mental health," she wrote.
Twitter quickly followed in her footsteps with their own sad experiences.
The thread is proof that most people who don't deal with mental health issues are very naive about the topic.
They simply don't understand or can't relate, which makes them respond poorly to anxiety attacks, depression or other mental health concerns.
Everyone's mental health journey is different, and yet each is valid, no matter how minor it may be.
Most also don't understand that mental illness can be a swinging pendulum, with ups and downs, good moments and bad moments.
Unfortunately, mental health disorders are seen as one-size-fits-all, which certainly is not the case.
Sadly, the miseducation often starts at the top with medical professionals.
If they're not responding to mental health disorders properly, how can we expect anyone else to?
Also, the majority of schools aren't teaching students about mental health enough or in the right way. This July will mark the first time a state (New York) will make mental health education mandatory in all school curriculums. Progress to combat such issues won't happen until EVERY student is properly taught about mental wellness in the classroom.