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You’ve been diagnosed with a behavioral health illness. What do you tell people? How do you share? Who do you tell?

You may have mixed emotions over these questions, and that’s perfectly fine. Know that being scared is normal, and anticipating how friends, family, coworkers etc. will react to your diagnosis is natural.

The decision to openly talk about your diagnosis is a personal one, and you don’t have to share until you’re ready. Do realize, however, that you may never be 100 percent ready. Think about it – are we ever 100 percent ready to do anything that’s difficult in life? But, stepping out of your comfort zone, knowing you have people who are there for you and facing your fears head-on, will likely help you move forward in your journey toward recovery.

Below, we offer some advice to keep in mind when preparing to discuss a mental health diagnosis.

It’s just an illness.
It’s plain and simple. You live with it just like any other person with an illness – diabetes, for example – lives with it. And, just like any other illness, it can be managed and treated once identified.

Most people just need to be educated.
Approach your conversations knowing you’re educating those around you about mental health – not telling them what’s ‘wrong’ with you. The truth of the matter is, most people simply don’t understand mental illnesses because they’ve never been taught the ins and outs. But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to learn or hear what you have to say. Remember – it’s just an illness and does not define you. Explain this to them.

You choose who you’re surrounded by.
There’s really no rule for who you need to tell because you get to choose who knows about your behavioral health illness. Choose to be surrounded by people who will support you on the good days and the bad. Need someone to help you decide who this is in your life? A mental health professional, such as a South Bay clinician, can guide you through this decision.

If you’re looking for further guidance on how to talk about your behavioral health illness, consider speaking to a South Bay clinician. Our mental health and substance abuse clinicians treat each individual with specific programs tailored to their needs. South Bay strives to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.