Mood Disorders: How to Breaking the Stigma by Talking about It with Your Friends and Family

Mood disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety are more common than you may think. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, about 1 in 5 Canadians experience a mental illness in any given year. Yet, despite the prevalence of these conditions, there is still a significant amount of stigma surrounding mental health. This stigma can make it difficult for individuals to seek help and support, and can make it hard for those who are struggling to open up about their experiences with loved ones.

The good news is that the stigma surrounding mood disorders is slowly being broken down, and conversations about mental health are becoming more common. Here are some tips for how to talk about it with your friends and family, and how to support loved ones who may be struggling.

Educate Yourself

Before you start a conversation about mood disorders, it’s important to educate yourself about the conditions. The Mood Disorders Society of Canada and the Mood Disorders Association of BC are both great resources for learning and finding support. The BC government’s Mood and Anxiety page also has a wealth of information on mood disorders and how to get help.

By learning about mood disorders, it will be much easier to have an informed conversation with your loved ones. You will also be better able to support them and provide them with resources and information. 

Talking About Mood Disorders

Starting a conversation about mood disorders can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that it’s okay to not have all the answers. Begin by expressing your concerns and letting your loved one know that you are there to support them. Avoid using language that stigmatizes mental health, such as calling someone “crazy” or “insane.” 

It’s also important to remember that it may take time for your loved one to open up about their experiences with mood disorders. Be patient and let them know that you are there for them when they are ready to talk.

Share Your Own Experiences

If you have your own experiences with mood disorders, sharing your story can help to break down the stigma surrounding mental health. By sharing your own experiences, you are letting your loved ones know that they are not alone and that it’s okay to talk about mental health.

It’s important to be honest and open about your experiences, but also to set boundaries and take care of your own mental health before you can be there for someone else. If you are uncomfortable sharing certain details, it’s okay to say so.

Offer Support

If your loved one is struggling with a mood disorder, it’s helpful to offer support and let them know that they are not alone. This can include listening to them, offering to help them find resources, and encouraging them to seek professional help if needed.

Remember that supporting a loved one can be challenging and can take a toll on your own mental health. Be sure to take care of yourself and seek support if needed.

Be a Good Listener when Someone Shares with You About Mood Disorders

Sometimes, all a loved one needs is someone to listen to them. Be a good listener and let your loved one express their thoughts and feelings without judgment. This can help them feel heard and validated.

It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to have all the answers. Sometimes, just being there and listening is enough.

Breaking the stigma surrounding mood disorders is important for creating a supportive environment for those who are struggling. By educating ourselves, starting conversations, sharing our own experiences, offering support, and being good listeners, we can help to break down the stigma and create a world where mental health is openly discussed and supported.