There are a number of things people say that indicate they hold onto mental health prejudices, many of which they are unaware of.
About four years ago, a friend of mine was talking about multiple psych hospitalizations. Then he realized he had not said it was about his daughter and quickly interjected, “I’m not talking about me, of course, it was my daughter who was in and out of the hospital.”
I responded, “And if it was you, we’d be OK with that because it would mean you had taken care of your mental health.” He froze for a second, realizing his on bias. I have to give him credit for instantly recognizing that and later mentioning it to me.
Do you still use the phrase, “committed suicide?” Do you still say “drug addict?” Do you make references to people with mental illness as being “crazy?” Do you say, “I’m so OCD today!” How do you react to or treat someone who lost a child to cancer versus one who lost a child to suicide or accidental drug overdose?
What’s the problem? Because of stigma, those who suffer feel shame and don’t seek help. When they don’t seek help from depression or addiction, the chance of death increases.
Self-correction for our own prejudices and word use errors is OK. In fact, acknowledgement of that is a way to educate and show our own willingness to make change.
Take the MakeItOK.org quiz.