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To wish people wouldn't use the phrase "mental health problems"?

(87 Posts)
LostInShoebiz Mon 23-Oct-17 14:06:10

Totally a TAAT but AIBU to wish people would not say things like "what if she has mental health problems"? Just like 'being ill' can cover anything from the sniffles to terminal cancer, mental health difficulties cover mild anxiety up to full blown chronic conditions requiring inpatient treatment and having serious consequences.

Stigmatising all mental health problems by lumping them in together leaves people with mild or manageable conditions in fear of 'coming out'.

araiwa Mon 23-Oct-17 14:09:45


Its a general umbrella term that conveys exactly its meaning. How would people know what, if any, specific illness someone might have

FATEdestiny Mon 23-Oct-17 14:12:25

I would use "mental health issues" rather than "problems", but I don't see anything wrong with the phrase.

It conveys concern about a person's well-being without needing the specifics of a diagnosis.

DunkMeInTomatoSoup Mon 23-Oct-17 14:12:28

What phrase would you suggest?

grandioseOtter Mon 23-Oct-17 14:13:25

You pointed out the flaw yourself.

People use phrases like 'health problems' meaning anything from cancer to dementia or the flu. Why should mental health problems be different?

Are you talking about the fact that most MN posters seem to have undiagnosed and vague 'anxiety'? I couldn't agree more that the number of people who seem to think they can self-diagnose and make excuses for their and their children's behavior is mind boggling.

LostInShoebiz Mon 23-Oct-17 14:13:47

It is an umbrella term and I object to it being used insensitively and pejoratively.

araiwa Mon 23-Oct-17 14:15:12

Also, if someone is talking about themselves, perhaps they wish to maintain privacy and not list their issues and use an general term instead

MorrisZapp Mon 23-Oct-17 14:15:38

I don't agree at all. I've had mental health issues. My brother currently has mental health issues. It suffices very well in serious circumstances, as does 'health issues'.

LostInShoebiz Mon 23-Oct-17 14:16:04

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MorrisZapp Mon 23-Oct-17 14:16:13

Sorry, I meant certain circumstances.

Multidimensionalbeing Mon 23-Oct-17 14:16:49


FATEdestiny Mon 23-Oct-17 14:16:59

I would object to anything said in an insensitive and pejorative way.

The phrase in itself is not insensitive and pejorative.

MiraiDevant Mon 23-Oct-17 14:18:46

YANBU - the whole thing is ridiculous.

The area of mental health is complex and difficult. It deserves being talked about with thought and respect and a degree of understanding.

It is not a catch-all term for anyone feeling a bit miserable because they don't want to go to work on a wet Monday or are nervous about their upcoming wedding. It is not a blanket excuse for bad behaviour. It should not lump depression with autism with dementia with anorexia. A little more thought would go a long way.

Bixg Mon 23-Oct-17 14:19:24

"suffers from..." MH problems/issues, etc. is the phrase I hate. I get depression, but it doesn't bother me too much how the illness is labelled, just don't describe me as "suffering". I live with it and continue to be treated for it.

FlakeBook Mon 23-Oct-17 14:20:01

YABU. They are not diagnosing a particular condition, they are trying to suggest that there may be mitigating circumstances for the behaviour. Just like "cancer" can mean a multitude of different conditions.

Foxysoxy01 Mon 23-Oct-17 14:20:45

I think you are really over thinking this tbh.

I have mental health issues and would rather say that than go into a massive, overly involved conversation of what I have actually been diagnosed with.

I think you are thinking people actually care more than they do. I can't imagine many people want to hear you give a massive run through of how many ways you are suffering and the mental health issues/problems would be plenty in the way of explanation unless they are friends/ask for more details/etc etc.

FlakeBook Mon 23-Oct-17 14:21:25

I think what you're doing is stigmatising other mental health in, "I have depression, I don't want to be lumped together with those proper weirdos who have schizophrenia"

monkeywithacowface Mon 23-Oct-17 14:22:53

Actually you sound quite insensitive yourself in that you believe that as someone with mild mental health issues you don't want to be associated with those who are more severely affected. You are "othering" them. Reminds me of para-olympic athletes who don't want to be seen competing with people who have disabilities such as downs syndrome.

LostInShoebiz Mon 23-Oct-17 14:23:26

Thank you Mirai. I think you've put it far more eloquently than I have.

For me, someone saying "don't contact X they might have mental health problems" is as exaggerated and out-dated as saying "don't sit next to Y they have AIDS and you might catch it". Just as all people with an illness are not contagious/a risk to you, not all those with a mental illness are violent, unhinged maniacs.

FlakeBook Mon 23-Oct-17 14:24:39

"Depression" varies massively in severity. It can be manageable but it can also be chronic, psychotic, fatal. Would you like people to say, "have you considered that thy might have severe recurrent depressing with mood-congruent psychotic features?"

Your post has irked me.

araiwa Mon 23-Oct-17 14:25:51

I too am irked

And the more op posts, the more irked i get

Sleepyblueocean Mon 23-Oct-17 14:26:06

It's like the "you shouldn't mention autism because it is insulting to those who have autism and don't behave that way" argument. That argument is in itself insulting.

Sirzy Mon 23-Oct-17 14:26:49

Flake and monkey have both summed up my thoughts in a way I couldn’t verbalise.

In your attempts to avoid stigmatising yourself you are very close to stigmatising others.

Mental health problems/issues is a cover all phrase for a series of very complex, often linked conditions. Having a cover all term allows people the chance to talk without having to go into more detail than they are comfy with which I think is very important.

LostInShoebiz Mon 23-Oct-17 14:27:48

If I were to "other" anyone it would be those with mild conditions. I have a very serious mental health problem but am a danger to no one but myself. By saying "us" I meant those with mental health issues that aren't a danger to society, as the majority are.

araiwa Mon 23-Oct-17 14:28:40

Please stop digging

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