LIFESTYLE

(VIDEO) Cliches Make It Harder To Talk About Mental Health, Say Campaigners

11/06/2012 09:14 BST | Updated 11/06/2012 12:15 BST

“Pull Yourself Together” tops the cliche chart when it comes to talking about mental health problems, according to new research commissioned by Time To Change, the mental health anti-stigma programme run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.

The poll also reveals that other common phrases "there are people out there much worse off than you" and "snap out of it" are also no help to sufferers looking to talk openly about their problems.

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In a new video released exclusively to The Huffington Post today, individuals who've experienced such awkward and demoralising conversations explain that mental health doesn’t have to be a scary or difficult subject.

To help those who might find having a chat slightly awkward, Time to Change activists offer tips on how to start a conversation about mental health.

Roisin (above) tells her audience: "Using words like 'chin up' and 'it'll pass' really don't help. Just be non-judgemental, open-minded. Letting someone talking is what we really need.

"Just having someone listen really helps."

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Sue Baker, director of Time To Change, told Huffpost Lifestyle: “It's very easy to use cliches in certain situations and they're used in so many different areas of our lives.

"However, using phrases such as 'pull yourself together' and 'snap out of it', can do more harm than good, even if we are trying to be helpful.

"Mental health problems are real illnesses, and you wouldn't necessarily use these expressions if someone had told you they have the flu or a broken leg.

"By listening, avoiding these assumptions and responding to the person as an individual, we can make it much easier for people to open up about their mental health problems."

Find out how to talk about mental health without falling into the cliche trap

Shea Wong, Time to Change supporter who blogged today in the Huffington Post about her role in the film, said: “We all have situations where we’re lost for words and certain clichés seem the best way of comforting someone.”

“The tips we’ve shared in this short film will hopefully encourage people to talk and be more open with colleagues, friends and family who might be experiencing a mental health problem.”

Baker adds: “The more we’re all able to have a conversation about mental health, the more we will remove the stigma and discrimination that still affects so many of us living with a mental health problem.”