How To Talk About Your 1 IN 5

Wearing a 1 IN 5 is guaranteed to lead to someone asking you that important question: What does one in five mean? It's a good question - and it's one we want people to ask! 

The simple answer is that one in five people will experience mental illness this year. This answer works all over the world. Sometimes, people will want to leave it at that - and that's totally okay. Brining to light how common mental illness is can be a key start to changing people's perceptions. 

Sometimes, people will want to share their story with you.

Know that this does not mean you have to share your story with them. You are never obligated to share your personal story of mental illness. Most times, people just want to feel heard and acknowledged. It helps them to feel less alone. Thank them for sharing, and encourage them to check out other people's stories through the hashtag #my1IN5. 

Sometimes, because humans are inherently nosey creatures, they'll ask if you have a mental illness.

Again, you're not obligated to share. You are allowed to say your personal story isn't something you necessarily talk about but you're happy to discuss how mental illness is more common than most people realize (or one of the many other talking points we profile on our blog). But you're also welcome to use it as an opportunity to share your connection to mental illness. It's your choice. 

And sadly, sometimes people will want to debate you on this statistic. 

You are allowed to disengage with this person. You can say you're not interested in debating the statistic but invite them to visit the Canadian Mental Health Association, or the Black Dog Institute, or the National Alliance on Mental Illness, or the Mental Health Foundation for more information. Thankfully, these people are few and far between. 

There are so many areas to talk about when it comes to mental illness, and we are so excited you're open and willing to engage in these important conversations. For more information and resources to share when talking about mental illness, join our Facebook group Talking Points and connect with other influencers in the work to change the conversation.

Two women tackling the stigma on mental illness

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