“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.”
I’ve never known anyone who actually believed or experienced this in their lives. The fact is that words have power. That power has the ability to do amazing things, but it also has the ability to cause a lot of harm—particularly to someone’s mental or emotional health.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and most people have struggled with a mental or emotional health issue at some point in their lives. For some, it’s transient or situational, but for others, it’s long-term and something they must live and contend with for the rest of their lives. To either, however, what we say to and about them matters.
SAMHSA—the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration—also believes that what we say matters. Our literacy on the topic of mental health matters. If we speak without thought or compassion, we can further prejudice and exclusion against those living with mental illnesses. We further perpetuate societal attitudes that hurt others and could, one day, hurt us or those we love.
If you’ve been following our newsletters long enough, you know there are several things that are very important to us at Path To Publishing.
We believe in the power of words and stories. We believe in the power of literacy and education to change the courses of people’s lives. And we believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion are vital—which includes those living with mental illness.
This month, and every month, we ask that you take care of yourself and find support if you need it. We ask that you show compassion to the struggles of others and be conscientious about the power of your own words on this topic.
If you want to find help for yourself, someone you love, or learn how to be a better help to others, visit the SAMHSA site for a broad range of resources, including sites to connect you with professionals, advice on changing the language around mental illness, and how to spread this word to others.
And if you want help making sure your story and message gets out into the world and finds the people that it will help, the people who need to hear it, Path To Publishing is here for you. You can start by taking our What’s Your Path To Publishing quiz to learn about the right course for you to follow to share your story.