How should we talk about mental health?

One of the greatest challenges we face in diagnosing and treating mental illness is the stigma that still surrounds it. Too many people think mental illness is a sign of weakness. In too many families, mental illness is the dark secret that no one wants to talk about. We aren’t ashamed to discuss other illnesses:  cancer, heart disease, diabetes.  But mental health still seems like a taboo topic.  We need to change that.  This piece by Thu-Huong Ha is a great discussion of this issue.

Says journalist Andrew Solomon: “People still think that it’s shameful if they have a mental illness. They think it shows personal weakness. They think it shows a failing. If it’s their children who have mental illness, they think it reflects their failure as parents.” This self-inflicted stigma can make it difficult for people to speak about even their own mental health problems.