mental health clinics in Atlanta
It can be difficult to talk about mental illness with family and friends. There is a negative stigma in our society attached to people with mental health issues. You may want to discuss mental illness with friends, for instance, but fear harsh judgments. When a mental illness becomes part of your life, either through personal experience or from one of your children, it is helpful to know how to talk to your friends and family about it.

Tips for Discussing Mental Illness

The traditional way to discuss mental illness was to speak as though it were happening to someone else or to use euphemisms to avoid saying the words. These methods do not work. They are awkward and may add more distance in your relationships than not talking about it at all.
The decision to discuss mental illness with friends is a personal one. If you decide to do it, here are some tips to make it a little easier:

  • Start with one person — Having a one-on-one conversation with a person you trust the most is a good place to start. When you have that person’s support, it will be easier to share your thoughts with others in your circle of friends.
  • Take it slow — You are experienced now in dealing with and talking about mental illness, but your friend or family member may be hearing these things for the first time. Do not overwhelm your friends with too much information all at once.
  • Define your purpose — Understand before you begin this conversation what your goal is. Are you just trying to inform your family about your condition, diagnosis, prognosis or efforts to cope with mental illness? Are you looking for sympathy, empathy or support? If you clearly define the purpose of your conversation, it may be easier to bring it to a successful conclusion.
  • Prepare for the unexpected — Not everyone can handle supporting a friend or loved one with a mental disorder. Your news may be interpreted as a threat to your friendship. People tend to think about themselves first and how your information affects them, so prepare for a variety of possible reactions — even if they are unexpected.

It can be even more difficult for your child to talk to you or others about mental illness. Children often carry the burden of trying to please their parents, and they may see mental illness as a way of letting you down. Children are always aware of the hierarchical dynamic in the parent-child relation and may be afraid of punishment or negative consequences.. They may be afraid of punishment or the withdrawal of your love.
Reassuring your child you love them no matter what can help make these discussions easier. Also, listening without judgment is an important skill for you to display in these situations. When your child tells you they feel ugly, telling them they are wrong to think that may seem like the right response, but it isn’t. It is better to empathize with your child’s feelings than to contradict them. The connection you make by telling them you feel ugly sometimes, too, will increase their comfort in sharing their feelings with you.

Contact The Best Mental Health Clinic In Atlanta, Georgia

For more information about how to talk to family and friends about mental illness, contact Hillside. We are one of the premier mental health clinics in the Atlanta area for treating children, teens and young adults with mental health issues.


Hillside's Clinical Team of Psychiatrists are part of the overall Multidisciplinary Team of Psychiatrists, Licensed Clinicians, Nurses, and degreed professionals that provide the state of the art programming and treatment that we offer.

Our Psychiatry staff includes 2 full-time Board Certified Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists and 2 full-time Nurse Practitioners who are located on our campus and in continuous contact with the Clinical Team, children and their families. Together our team has over 30 service years at Hillside.

Dr. Adam Silberman, M.D, Medical Director

University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology


Rana Sibai-Drake, M.D.

Emory University, BS, Anthropology and Human Biology
University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine, MD
General Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology 2012
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology 2015


Roy Harrell, MSN, FNP-BC, PMHNP-BC, Nurse Practitioner

University of Massachusetts, FNP 2013
Georgia State University, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, 2016


Jan Smith, DNP,MPH,FNP-BC , Nurse Practitioner

Georgia Southern University, Doctor of Nursing Practice 2011

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