Episode 16: 6 No No's to Say to Someone With Mental Illness & What You Can Say Instead

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Episode by LIVIN Co-Founder: Sam Webb

Mental illness is more common than you might think. At least one in five adults in Australia and the United States experience mental illness in any given year and chances are that you may be one of them.  Despite how common it is, we don’t always have the understanding required in order to really help the people around us.  At LIVIN, we believe knowledge and understanding defeats stigma almost all the time so today I’m going to share some really practical things you should and shouldn’t say when talking to someone who is struggling. A lot of it comes across in the tone that we speak not necessarily in what we say.

Offering advice to someone in need usually comes from a place of good intentions but sometimes the words we use may not convey the message we are trying to send.  If we don’t come from a place of understanding and compassion, it’s all too easy to make the person we’re trying to help feel dismissed, invalidated, belittled or irritated.  It’s very unlikely they will be able to take advice onboard if the words being said are insensitive and condescending.  

In this episode I share 6 common mishaps that people make when talking to someone with a mental illness and what we can say instead.  It’s not always easy to know what to say but a lot of the time, simply listening can be really helpful.  Remember, confiding in someone takes a lot of guts so next time someone opens up to you, take these tips on board and encourage them to seek professional help.

Thanks for listening to another episode of It Ain’t Weak to Speak with Sam Webb.

If after listening to this episode and you don't quite feel right or you want to reach out to someone to talk to, we have provided some useful resources below. 

For immediate support please call one of the following 24/7 hotlines. Someone will be ready to take your call. Remember, ‘It Ain’t Weak to Speak’

If you are in Australia:

Emergency: 000

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

If you are in the United States:

Emergency: 911

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text LIVIN to 741741 in the United States

If you would prefer to speak with someone face-to-face, we recommend visiting your local GP (doctor) who will be able to have a chat with you about what is going on in your life and refer you to a mental health professional if need be.

For some tools to help you with things like stress, low mood, general worries, please check out our LIVIN tips and tricks here.

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