Telling your friends to “cheer up” can be harmful

Monday, May 22, 2023

Toxic positivity is a term used to describe the idea that we should always look on the bright side of life, even when things are not going well. While it’s nice to have a positive attitude, toxic positivity can be harmful, especially when it comes to mental health.

When we tell someone who is struggling with mental health issues to “just think positive” or “look on the bright side,” we may unintentionally be invalidating their experiences and feelings. This can make them feel even worse and prevent them from seeking help.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about one in five adults in the United States experience a mental illness each year. That’s roughly 51.5 million people. With such a large number of individuals struggling with mental health conditions, it’s crucial that we provide them with the right kind of support.

Instead of telling people to “cheer up” or “just be positive,” we need to acknowledge their feelings and offer them empathy and understanding. Studies show that social support and empathy are crucial factors in recovery from mental health conditions.

Better Ways to Support Those with Mental Health Conditions:

  1. Listen and Validate

When someone opens up to you about their struggles with mental health, it’s essential to listen to them without judgment. Let them know that you hear and understand them. Validate their feelings and acknowledge that their experience is real and difficult.

  1. Offer Practical Support

Offering practical support, such as helping them with everyday tasks, can be very helpful. For example, you could offer to do their grocery shopping or cook them a meal.

  1. Encourage Professional Help

Encourage them to seek professional help. Mental health conditions are medical conditions and should be treated as such. Encourage them to seek help from a qualified mental health professional.

  1. Be Patient

Recovery from mental health conditions takes time. It’s essential to be patient and understanding. Don’t pressure them to “get over it” or “move on.” Everyone’s recovery journey is different.

Recent News

Join us at the Trunk Or Treat Party on Oct. 21 in Baltimore

Gather your loved ones, friends, and goodie bags for our exciting event, Trunk or Treat Costume Party. Reserve your complimentary tickets here! This is an enjoyable and safe Halloween experience that will take place on Saturday, October 21st, 2023, from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM at 4600 West Northern Parkway, Baltimore, MD 21215. Join us to savor…

Read More

Join us at our Youth Resource Day on Sept. 16 in McHenry

Join us for an exciting day filled with valuable resources, fun and opportunities for young people and their families! This in-person event will take place on Saturday, September 16, 2023 at 270 Mosser Road, McHenry, MD 21541. Register here:! At the Youth Resource Day, we aim to provide a platform for young individuals to…

Read More

Join us at Breaking Through Barriers on Sept. 9 in Cumberland

Join us for an exciting event, Breaking Through Barriers, where we will come together to celebrate personal growth and overcoming obstacles. This in-person event will take place on Saturday, September 9, 2023 at Fort Avenue, Cumberland, MD 21502. Register here. Breaking Through Barriers is all about pushing boundaries, challenging ourselves, and embracing change. Whether you’re…

Read More

“My PRP worker has been very helpful and has taught me how to better myself and take care of my children. She also helped me do the things I needed to do to regain custody of my son.”
– T.M., Waldorf
“When I first started, I was afraid to talk but once they started telling me about this program, I started to open up more. They taught me that I am important; it’s about me today. They have taught me to forget about the past and focus on my goals – my GED,  nursing, helping the homeless, volunteering, etc. This is the most amazing, awesome program in Baltimore, and that’s from my heart. The staff is wonderful, amazing, beautiful, unique and have hearts of gold.”
– K.S., Baltimore
“I do nothing but give praise to this establishment. My first time there, I was very nervous, but that quickly changed once I was greeted by the amazing staff in the front office. I can never leave that place with a frown on my face. I would recommend this facility to anybody in need of mental and drug counseling. They are the best I have ever experienced, and that is no lie.”
– D.J., Baltimore
“I absolutely felt 100% at ease talking. I’m so happy that I’ve found this place.”
– Anonymous

Subscribe to Maryland Wellness Updates