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 Resources

News & Info

Upcoming Events

Visit some of our top visited pages. This content is for parents, volunteers and the community at large.

Warning Signs of Suicidal Thinking in Youth — How to Reduce the Chances

The threat of suicide is often one of the main concerns for families with loved ones struggling with depression. If your child has suicidal thoughts without active plans, an outpatient mental health facility & professional should be contacted right away. Hillside’s outpatient clinic has clinicians who are skilled in working with children and adolescents who struggle with suicidal ideations. Read More

Hillside Participates in Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) One-Day Conference

Hillside is proud to co-sponsor a one day conference on “Early Detection & Prevention of BPD – Bridging the GAP” with the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder. Clinicians from Hillside will join other experts in the field to present an informational, educational day for parents, teachers, school counselors and clinicians who interact with kids who have trouble regulating their emotions. Buy tickets now!