How to talk about mental illness


Let’s Talk Colorado, launched in May, is a statewide campaign created by Tri-County Health Department and other partner organizations to combat the stigma of mental illness. In English and Spanish, defines mental health and stigma, as well as provides links to local and statewide resources.

The campaign also provides tips on how to talk about mental health, such as:
• Be nice.
• Keep in contact.
• Offer help.
• Listen.
• Keep the conversation moving.
• Don’t ignore it. is a national campaign to combat the stigma of mental illness. On its website, visitors can learn about mental illness, answer a questionnaire on stigmatic behaviors and read about individual experiences with stigma. The campaign provides resources that can be used to teach, share, learn and speak about mental illness and stigma. Below are phrases the campaign recommends to use and to avoid when discussing mental health.

Try saying:
• “Thanks for opening up to me.”
• “How can I help?”
• “I’m sorry to hear that. It must be tough.”
• “I’m here for you when you need me.”
• “I can’t imagine what you’re going through.”
• “People do get better.”
• “Can I drive you to an appointment?”
• “How are you feeling today?”
• “I love you.”

Avoid saying:
• “It could be worse.”
• “Just deal with it.”
• “Snap out of it.”
• “Everyone feels that way sometimes.”
• “You may have brought this on yourself.”
• “We’ve all been there.”
• “You’ve got to pull yourself together.”
• “Maybe try thinking happier thoughts.”


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