This Advice for Mental Health Patients Sucks

A comic strip from the blog Robot Hugs nicely captures the differences between the way we treat physical health problems and mental illnesses. Obviously it would be silly to tell someone with a severed hand to try changing their frame of mind to get better or to worry that a diabetic's long-term insulin use will "change who they really are." But these are the kinds of things people tell people with mental health problems all the time.

The strip has been making the rounds on sites such as Reddit and Imgur. The Imgur comments are interesting — hundreds of people chimed in with examples from their own lives (met by others who insisted they knew someone with depression/an eating disorder/whatever one time and that person just wanted attention). A few examples:

Most annoying thing about having generalized anxiety disorder: "What do you even have to be anxious about?!" ....
Being bipolar is really shitty already. & when I finally trust someone enough to tell them, I'm "asking for attention." & "it's not real."
Oh yeah, the "medication changes who you are" is my all-time favorite as a person with bipolar disorder. Fuck you, those meds saved my life.
for most people its very hard for them to admit that they have a mental illness.when they can finally admit it. you want to call it a mindset
Mental illness ARE physical diseases. Just because you can't see brain chemicals and neurons doesn't make them not real.

Some commenters with physical disabilities that are not readily apparent added that they get the same kind of treatment.

Theres still a LOT of stigma & ignorance about INVISIBLE physical disabilities as well. I've had ALL of this said to me about my FibroMyalgia
I have Crohn's and my parents thought I was just looking for attention for years, until I moved out and a doctor finally diagnosed me.

But a few people pushed back against the idea that there's no merit to the idea that attitude or mental framing matters in mental health issues.

These kinds of opinions seem a little trendy. Should we just tell cognitive behavioral therapists to go home?

Scientific fact: we don't know the limits to the brain's ability to self-correct. NEVER LIMIT YOURSELF. Can't say same for physical ailment

As someone whose battled 20 years of depression, actually yes, how you relate to it and what you focus on are extremely important.

Here is the original comic: