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Normalising patients’ feelings

A useful analogy …

‘I have nothing to wear.’

‘But you have a closet full of clothes.’

To the outsider, what may seem like an irrational feeling is very real and rational for the person experiencing it. It is the same for those suffering from anxiety. To the outsider, it might seem like the person has everything (ie a great job, family and social life). However, a crippling fear of one thing renders all others as inconsequential. While anxiety might be seen as an irrational feeling by an outsider, it might be completely rational to the person.19

Part of the problem with the way services and the community respond to mental health issues is the stigma that is associated with mental illness.

You can help to reduce the problems caused by stigma by normalising mental health issues and by talking about mental illness/conditions/disorders the same way you would about physical illness/conditions/disorders.

The information below includes mental health analogies and strategies that might assist you to normalise mental health issues and reduce stigma for your patients.


  1. Women’s Web. Analogies to help one understand depression and other mental health conditions. Women’s Web, 2014.  [Accessed 3 March 2016].


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