Mental illness is no laughing matter

Casual and careless “jokes” about behavioral health conditions are facilitating and nurturing a myriad of obstacles that serve as significant barriers for those living with serious mental illnesses like depression,  obsessive compulsive disorder,  and bipolar disorder.   Far too often many of us have heard ― or have even shared ― inhumane “jokes” in the workplace,  at church,  school, home, and in the community that make light of a very serious public health challenge.

Shamefully and much to our chagrin, many of us who are not personally living with a mental health condition are undermining advocacy, support and treatment for people who are, as well as the safety net that is being provided by their loved ones and caregivers.  Our participation in the construction of an environment that breeds fear, alienation, ignorance, and discrimination is not only creating a vacuum of mistrust and indifference, it is also systematically destroying our community and endangering lives.  And since 1 in 5 adults experience a mental health condition in any given year, many of us have no doubt carelessly uttered words that have discouraged family members, friends, co-workers, parents, students, and fellow congregants that we know. 

So it’s time for us to stop this childish behavior, and to put an end to this destructively viral phenomenon that has sadly developed into an absurd cultural norm.  We know better, so we should do better, starting today! 🙂



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In the article Here’s The Real Problem With Casually Using The Word ‘Depressed’  published by the Huffington Post the author features a series of animations that illustrate our collective need to carefully consider the impact of the words that we are using in our conversations about others and in our descriptions of our own behavior.


We need to change the way we talk about mental health. People often use words associated with mental illness, like “depressed” or “OCD,” in casual conversation as a way to express annoyance, make a joke or explain their feelings. In truth, this is hugely disrespectful to the one in five American adults who experience a mental health condition in a given year.”

Artist Annie Erskine explains it best in these comics for CollegeHumor:  The words you say matter when it comes to mental health. Take a look at the illustrations below:


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Here’s The Real Problem With Casually Using The Word ‘Depressed’


Relevant Video & Links: | StigmaFree 



Sage Journals  |  The Impact of Mental Illness Stigma on Seeking and Participating in Mental Health Care

“How might provider stigma impact the provision of care?   Two bodies of research suggest that provider stereotypes undermine good practice.” |  American Psychological Association |  Left Out
“Two recent studies suggest that mental health professionals are less likely to take on African-American and working-class clients.” | Living with a mental health condition | Find Support | 24 Million Will Lose Mental Health Coverage

NAMI North Carolina  | Why Should African American Churches Care about Mental Illness?