At work one can open a conversation by reminding people that though mental health is not visible, it affects one in five people worldwide. They need to be reminded of how common mental illness really is. They need to be aware of the fact that it affects the whole family; extended family too.
People might want to know that workplace strategies for stress reduction can help reduce the incidence of mental illness.
At work during coffee breaks, people tend to gossip and might talk about mental illness negatively as well as inaccurately. These are opportunities to challenge incorrect assumptions and correct them.
Before doing this, I equip myself with facts, statistics and basic information from my family’s experience of mental illness in order to stimulate conversation on the subject.
Only when mental illness is spoken about openly, the way other illnesses are talked about, will the stigma associated with this, lessen it, and it must.