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Why are the topics of mental health and mental illness not regularly talked about in diverse groups that are part of our communities, such as the LGBTQ+ community, among people of color, or among the wide range of refugee and immigrant groups?

Could it  be that mental illness doesn’t occur in these communities and among its varied people?

Of course not. Mental illness can occur in all people and across all communities.

RELATED: Quality Talk podcast - Depression Awareness Month

Through the 2017 Minority Mental Health Month campaign, #NotACharacterFlaw, organizers asked the question: How does your community talk about mental health or mental illness? The answer most people came to was clear, and overwhelming – people don’t talk about these issues.

The truth is that many people do talk about mental health and mental illness, but they express themselves differently. The phrases and expressions that people use to talk about these issues often never touch on the terms “mental health” or “mental illness.” There are many examples that people use to communicate what they are feeling that may be tied to more complex issues, for instance:

idioms of distress

The fact is the way in which individuals talk – or don’t talk – about mental health and mental illness is influenced directly by the society and culture that a person is part of. The way we talk about these issues is a learned behavior. Think about it. There are so many ways our communities think about and portray mental health – often negatively – and the 2018 campaign, #MyStoryMyWay, is seeking help to move past the stereotypical beliefs that are out there.

How to help? By sharing your story.

The 2018 Minority Mental Health Month emphasis, #MyStoryMyWay, focuses on validating and highlighting the voices and experiences of individuals from across diverse communities. The campaign wants to listen and hear from individuals as they shed light on the way that diverse, marginalized, and minority communities perceive, narrate, communicate, and address mental health and mental illness. To learn more about how to share your story – which can be done anonymously – see the campaign toolkit for more information.


Related: Guide to Understanding the Connection Between Substance Abuse and Suicide

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