Mental Health Is Not a Joke

Updated on June 14, 2017
Ellora Fayette profile image

I've struggled with mental health issues for several years now. Jokes about mental illness are no laughing matter.

Making Light of Mental Health

It has been my experience that people have a tendency to make light of mental health. This is never done in a malicious way, at least not that I have seen for myself, and it usually takes the form of some less-than-favorable jokes and word choice. The two most common examples are “triggered” and cutting jokes, as well as the phrase “kill yourself." Now I understand that people don’t mean anything bad when they say these things; however, I believe that the reason people feel okay making these kinds of jokes is a lack of true understanding of what those words mean to people who struggle with their mental health.

My Own Struggles

While I am not mentally ill in any clinical sense, I have struggled with mental health for several years now. What some people may not know is that I used to self-harm. It started when I was 13, and I didn’t make the decision to quit until April of last year. If someone had told me to kill myself two years ago, no matter how harmless their intentions, I would have taken them seriously—because that was my state of mind at the time. I know for a fact that I am not the only person like that.

Trigger Warnings

Sometimes I wonder if people truly understand the purpose of trigger warnings. Being triggered doesn’t mean that something mildly annoys you. It means that something puts you at risk. Triggered is what happens when someone with PTSD has an episode after being exposed to a smell that makes them flashback to a time they were attacked. Triggered is what happens when someone feels the urge to hurt themselves again after seeing graphic images of self-harm. Trigger warnings are there for the protection of those who would otherwise suffer needlessly without them.

Jokes About Self-Harm

As someone who has had a problem with self-harm, cutting jokes in particular tend to bother me more than others—whether they’re directed at me or not. They bother me, and others like me, because when you’re trying to get better, you don’t want to be reminded of what brings you down. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t surround a recovering alcoholic with alcohol would you? So why put self-harmers in that situation? Because like alcoholism, self-harm is an addiction. It is a destructive behavior that someone people resort to cope with their problems and is difficult to move away from once you’ve started. So hearing people talking about the “correct” way to cut if you want to kill yourself is not exactly healthy for people who are trying to move away from that.

Raising Awareness

Maybe people don’t actually care about that. But I choose to believe that if people actually took a moment to take that into consideration, they would not make the jokes that they do. I choose to believe this because there are plenty of people that I know who say these things, but are good people. I know they are good people, and I refuse to believe that they have harmful intentions. But that does not erase the fact that their words can have an impact when said around the wrong people. I understand that mental health is a difficult subject that can make some people uncomfortable. It is not always obvious who around us may be suffering. But it is that discomfort and that uncertainty that makes it all the more important for us to educate ourselves and each other on mental illness, because you never know how your words or actions may impact others. We don’t make jokes about rape or cancer, so why is mental health any different? Why do people feel okay making a joke about suicide, but not about someone dying from a debilitative disease? It is my firm belief that the reason for this is a lack of awareness and a lack of education on the subject as a whole.

How do you feel about mental health jokes?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, healdove.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://healdove.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)