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Imagine if we treated physical illness the same way we treat mental illness.

Images by Robot Hugs

If a friend told you they were suffering from the flu, you’d never think of telling them it was all in their head.

If you saw someone injecting themselves with insulin, or recovering from a serious injury, you’d never think to yourself, ‘Why don’t they just snap out of it?’

And yet for people suffering from less visible illnesses like depression or anxiety, this is the kind of ‘advice’ some loved ones, friends, workmates, even strangers feel it’s appropriate to offer up.

What not to do when someone is having a panic attack.

This funny, yet incredibly incisive comic from Robot Hugs illustrates just how ludicrous it is to tell someone suffering from mental illness to just ‘change their frame of mind’, or that they ‘just don’t seem to be trying’ to recover from it. You’d never say that to someone doubled over with food poisoning, or living with cancer – so how could it possibly be of value for someone with a mental illness or mood disorder?

Regardless of how well-intentioned they are, these nuggets of “helpful” advice tend to be anything but. In fact, the most helpful thing you can do for someone living with a mental illness doesn’t necessarily involve saying anything at all.

Just listen. Be there. And keep your judgements to yourself.

This image was originally published on Robot Hugs and appears here with permission.

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