How To Better Understand Mental Illness Without The Statistics

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Research and numbers are important and all, but they take out one major piece of the puzzle for understanding mental illness: the human. We never asked to be a statistic, so don’t remove us from the education and conversation. To best understand mental illness, especially beyond the statistics, is to understanding the human side of it.

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Read Fiction

There are so many novels and stories and poems about mental health and mental illness, and so many that are subtle about the topic so it may not be obvious that the focus is so much on mental health. I find those stories to be the most clear in depicting these issues that make it relatable to non-sufferers, because sometimes saying straight out that the characters has ______ makes them easier to alienate them. YA books do this well, and my particular favorites that subtly bring up these topics are Perks of Being a Wallflower and Looking for Alaska. But there are soooo many more out there, it just takes a little looking.

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Listen to Stories

Not every sufferer of mental illness is willing to share their stories like I do, and it’s completely fine if they don’t. But if they are willing to talk about it, listen to them. Hear what they have to say because I guarantee they won’t talk about numbers and stats, but feelings and situations. It makes these issues more like reality, and not just  a piece of confusing medical jargon.

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Do Research

This seems completely counter-intuitive to stats free understanding, but many people do discuss mental health and illness scientifically and qualitatively. It’s not all graphs, charts, and numbers if you look hard enough. And many people, like myself, will write their stories and put them online. I’ve done this with the Huffington Post, The Mighty is a great source for this as well.

Know any great mental health resources? Share them in the comments below!

 

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. haleympettit says:

    I think that reading books taught me more about mental illness than any research or statistic. One of my favorites – in addition to the ones you mentioned – is Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta. Thanks for this post – it’s a great reminder that we can’t separate the human experience of mental illness from the statistics. xo, Haley

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  2. jacobtugwood says:

    This was interesting to read. I admit that I often use statistics in my writing, if only to back up any claims about something. Especially a political issue etc. Yet at the same time I acknowledge that describing emotions is equally as important. It reminds me that it’s been a while since I posted entirely based on feeling. I should do another soon. This was a great reminder for me 🙂

    Like

  3. xoxokleeblog says:

    Loved this post. There is so much more to learning about mental illness that reading the statistics. Mental illness is a personal thing that effects everyone differently, and the only way to REALLY understand what it’s like is to read the books, the poetry, the personal stories, etc.

    Like

  4. Charlotte says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this ❤ As someone who understands mental health issues all too well, I think we're often missing the human data from a lot of research and findings we see online. There's always a person behind every statistic, and I'm so glad to see the stigma behind the suffering dissipate.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post. I think the biggest thing is just hearing personal stories and talking to others. Mental health affects so many, yet everyone’s story is so different!

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  6. Hi I am now to this game.I have read same of your post,I think sounds like samething that I can do.As I have taken my medication. I doubt I can judge it.

    Like

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