10 Things to Drop in the New Decade

2020 is a fresh new start. Let’s kick it off the RIGHT way. This past decade, I’ve come across so many issues in the way people discuss mental health & mental illness.

 

Here is my list of things to leave behind in 2019:

 

  1. Anti-psychiatry shenanigans
    1. “You don’t need pills! Those are harmful!
    2. “Do you have any idea what those pills do to your body?!”
    3. “If you are relying on psychiatric meds, you aren’t trying hard enough.”
    4. “Have you tried running, kale, yoga, CBD oil, vitamin D, etc.?”
    5. “My X has that condition. They don’t take meds, so you don’t need meds either!”
  2. Cyberbullying
    1. Twitter is full of public examples of that, unfortunately.
    2. If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online. Period.
    3. Don’t do it. It’s never okay to bully, online or not.
  3. Oversimplified views of suicide
    1. It is more than just depression, people.
    2. Many articles are problematic when discussing suicidality. It is so much more complex than how it is often depicted.
  4. Misuse of diagnostic labels or concepts
    1. “She’s so bipolar!”
    2. “Wow. This semester is so hard. *insert terrible suicide joke here*”
    3. “I’m so OCD. I love to be tidy!”
  5. The way gun violence is discussed by the public
    1. The media depiction is so incredibly harmful. Without any evidence, school shooters are instantly labeled as “mentally ill,” even if there is absolutely nothing to support those ideas. Violence can happen by people who are NOT mentally ill… in fact, that is commonly the case.
    2. “Mentally ill” and “violent” are not synonymous. It is time to do better.
  6. Stigma in general
    1. I’ve already seen someone say stigma doesn’t even exist. It does.
    2. There is public stigma & self-stigma. These are based on stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. To effectively target stigma, there needs to be more education (including general education on mental illnesses as well as the sharing of people’s stories).
  7. Interacting with trolls
    1. There are SO many people who tweet incredibly offensive material about mental illness. It is clear that those people are doing so for attention. Don’t feed the trolls.
    2. It’s just not effective. It’s a waste of time.
  8. Shutting people down
    1. A lot of people with zero personal experience talk over those with lived experience. This needs to stop. The voices of those with lived experience need a MAJOR boost.
    2. Don’t label people with mental illness stories as “attention-seeking.” It takes courage to be public about such stories, ones which are often painful to share and come at a personal cost. If someone with a physical illness shared their journey, they would be praised, labeled as brave & heroic. When someone with mental illness does the same, the comment section is filled with negativity. Do better.
  9. Stigma WITHIN mental health settings
    1. I’ve heard stigmatizing language used by:
      1. Doctors
      2. Nurses
      3. Medical students
      4. Professors
      5. Advocates
      6. Therapists
    2. Patients are not dumb. They can easily pick up on stigma. Please realize that it impacts how you interact with patients on a daily basis. It gets in the way of recovery (e.g., mental health patients not being believed due to stigma).
    3. This is NOT okay. Not only are you hurting PATIENTS, you are also hurting EACH OTHER. Do you realize how many providers/staff members are afraid to seek mental health treatment? Perhaps, addressing the stigma (NOT just by some mandatory wellness/burnout session, but ACTUAL change) will lead to lowered suicide rates among the healthcare professions.
  10. Viewing therapy in a negative light
    1. Therapy is not a “luxury.” Many people require therapy to adequately address their mental health conditions. Often, medication and lifestyle changes are not enough. For example, DBT is very effective for Borderline Personality Disorder; this therapy helps these patients in many ways, including providing healthy alternatives/coping mechanisms to the self-destructive and/or suicidal behaviors commonly seen in BPD.
    2. There are also many people who seek therapy for non-medical reasons. That’s great! Honestly, everyone can benefit from therapy.
    3. You don’t need to reach rock bottom before seeking help! If you are thinking about therapy, it is okay to seek it out!

 

 

What are some things you think we should leave behind in 2020? Let me know!

2 thoughts on “10 Things to Drop in the New Decade

  1. I agree with everything you listed here. I was raised by a mother with BPD and I went through 3 rounds of an outpatient DBT course. So super helpful in adjusting my thoughts and behaviors, definitely NOT a luxury.
    One thing we need to stop is science denying. It’s not fake news, they’re called facts. Great post, thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

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