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Educating Ourselves

What is Mental Health?

A healthy mind lets you learn, play, and understand others. Mental health means having good ways to deal with your feelings and how to enjoy life, even when things are hard.

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What is Mental Illness?

Mental illnesses are treatable health conditions that are very common. They can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, religion, or income.

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Types of Mental Health Challenges

There are many types of mental health challenges some include anxiety, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

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Facts About Mental Illnesses

About one in four adults experience a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Find out more about some of the most common illnesses.

Make It OK Resource Walk in Our Shoes Resource
Facts About Stigma

Stigma often brings experiences of shame, blame, hopelessness, distress, and reluctance to seek and/or accept help.

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Ways to Fight Mental Health Stigma

Stigma causes people to feel ashamed for something that is out of their control. Worst of all, it prevents people from seeking the help they need.

NAMI Resource Mayo Clinic Resource
Make it OK Interactive Learning Tool

Make it OK is a campaign to reduce the stigma of mental illnesses, encouraging individuals to talk more openly about mental illnesses. Use the following interactive tool to learn more about how you can reduce the stigma.

Launch Tool
Stop the Silence Surrounding Mental Illnesses

Mental illnesses are as common as silver cars, as people with brown eyes and more common than being left-handed. Despite being one of the most common illnesses, there is still a stigma attached to mental illnesses and many people struggle with talking about them.

It’s OK to have a mental illness – may of us do.
One in four Americans from every walk of life experience a mental illness. Most people live with the symptoms of a mental illness for ten years before seeking treatment, largely due to the stigma. The sooner people get treatment, the greater their chances of recovery.

It’s OK because it’s treatable – life can get better.
The best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective. In fact, between 70 and 90 percent of peoples symptoms are reduced and feel better when following individualized treatment plans.


Knowing What to Say

What to Say to Someone Who Opens Up

We remove stigma through conversation and understanding. Use these simple tips for speaking with someone who is battling behavioral health issues.

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Learn the Lingo

Talking more openly about mental illnesses is one way we can reduce the stigma and “Make It OK.” Sometimes, we resort to silence because it can be hard to find the words to say.

What Can You Say?
Let’s pretend someone you know just told you they’re struggling with anxiety disorder or depression. What do you say? Here are a few suggestions.

  • “Oh no, what can I do to help?”
  • “I’m here for you if you need me.”
  • “Thingswill get better.”
  • “I can’t imagine what you’re going through.”
  • “We’ll make it right. It’ll be okay.”
  • “Can I drive you to an appointment?”
  • “We love you.”

What You Shouldn’t Say
Sometimes, our words may reinforce the stigma. Remember that mental illnesses are biological in nature, just like diabetes, and need treatment. Avoid using derogatory or dismissive language, such as:

  • “It could be worse.”
  • “Snap out of it.”
  • “Everyone feels that way sometimes.”
  • “You may have brought this on yourself.”
  • “There’s got to be something wrong upstairs.”
  • “We’ve all been there.”

Don’t use words like “crazy,” “psycho,” “nuts,” or “insane.”

Rule of Thumb
Although talking about mental illnesses may be uncomfortable for you at first, know that it is also a difficult conversation for your friend, loved one, or coworker. Be nice, supportive, and listen. Offer to help and keep the conversation going.


Suicide: How You Can Make a Difference

Rising suicide rates have brought the topic of suicide into everyday conversations. It’s important you know some facts and to know what to do if you think someone might be at risk of self-harm.

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What to Say and What Not to Say to Someone With Autism

Comments that are made regarding autism usually aren’t meant to be mean, but can show a lack of understanding regarding Autism.

Research Autism Resource Autism Speaks Resource
Suggestions for Supporting a Loved One with ADHD
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Many well-meaning family members and friends can make mistakes when trying to support a loved one with ADHD because they misunderstand the disorder.

What to Say to Someone with an Eating Disorder

If someone you know if struggling with or recovering from an eating disorder, it can be difficult to know what to say to him or her.

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Free behavioral health awareness seminars

Understanding behavioral disorders can be hard, and knowing how to help someone can be even harder. Cigna hosts free, confidential monthly seminars to help you learn more about behavioral disorders in children and adolescents, offering expert information on coping techniques and caregiver support.

Sign Up for Behavioral Health Seminars

Resources for the Workplace