Things Not to Say to Someone With Mental Illness

I find that half the battle in knowing how to support someone going through a hard time is to know what not to say. We have all (including me) said the wrong thing but we can always strive toward being more careful with our words. It only takes a second to put our thoughts through the filter.

Mental illness is one of the most important topics today. Awareness has grown tremendously, but sensitivity has not improved at the same rate. Here are some things that you should not say to someone with mental illness.

  • I was once sad and I got better.
  • Have you tried reading the Bible?
  • Just get over it.
  • Try to have more faith.
  • It’s all in your head.
  • If you love Jesus, you should be happy.
  • Why are you upset when you have a good life?
  • I know exactly how you feel.

If you shouldn’t say these things, what should you do? Try just being present with the person. You don’t have to explain their suffering. You don’t even have to understand it. Just be there.

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