It’s all in your head: Mental illness patients on the worst advice they got

British journalist Hattie Gladwell’s tweet got over 600 responses. It was ‘liked’ by 2,600 people and was shared nearly 470 times.

People experiencing mental illness are subjected to social stigma, ridiculed for “just in your head” issues and told their problem is “all an excuse”.

UK journalist Hattie Gladwell started a Twitter thread with the hashtag #ThingsPeopleHaveSaidAboutMyMentalIllness and asked her followers to reveal the most unhelpful, insensitive or insulting things ever said to them about their mental illness.

“One person told me I didn’t need medication, I just needed to be more motivated to cope with my mental health,” Gladwell posted @hattiegladwell as she shared her experience.

Gladwell’s tweet got an overwhelming response with grievances pouring in from across the world. Fed up of being dismissed and not heard, people began sharing the worst things said to them about their mental health.

It was soon widely shared, garnering over 600 responses. It was liked by 2,600 people and shared nearly 470 times.

In India, mental health came into media focus when Bollywood actor Deepika Padukone opened up about depression in an interview in 2015. She spearheads The Live Laugh Love Foundation that aims to reduce the stigma, spread awareness and change the way people look at mental health issues.

Following Padukone’s confession, several prominent personalities such as Varun Dhawan, Ileana D’Cruz, Shama Sikander and Manisha Koirala too came out with stories of battling with depression, bipolar disorders, body dysmorphic disorder and anxiety.

The National Mental Health Survey of India-2016 describes mental disorders as a diverse group of conditions varying in their presentation ranging from acute to recurrent to chronic, mild to severe, multiple disorders to single illness, morbid or co-morbid conditions and in several other ways.

Prevalence of mental disorders (National Mental Health Survey of India)

The findings of the survey revealed that one in 20 people in India suffer from depression, a high prevalence of psychoactive substance use and that high suicidal risk is an increasing concern.

India is home to several organisations that provide assistance to people suffering from mental illnesses. Some of them are AASRA (Mumbai), The Banyan (Chennai), Sanjivini Society For Mental Health (Delhi) among others.