Why Mental Illness Jokes Aren’t Funny

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Why Mental Illness Jokes Aren’t Funny

Isabella Terzoli, Staff Writer

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Mental illness jokes are in no way funny. When people joke about mental illness, they don’t think about another person’s mental state, and how it may affect the people around them.

Some people think it’s funny to joke around about mental illness, or to joke and say to “kill yourself” would be funny. The truth is, we all need to take part in combating the stigma surrounding mental health. Stigma means a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person.

Some of the jokes I’ve heard about are:

“Someone forgot their meds this morning, lol!”

“I’m gonna kill myself if there is a quiz in math today!” (mimes shooting self with hand).  Someone that is around you might actually take medication and find this offensive. Don’t joke about suicide because you never know who might have lost someone to suicide or who may be suicidal.

Students sometimes make jokes about self-harm or suicide, when talking about homework or a particularly troublesome exam or teacher. The fact is they didn’t understand that what they were doing would have an impact on people. This shows just how ingrained the stigma is. They don’t see it as a big issue, and thus it’s something that they can joke about, when in reality they shouldn’t.

Esther Aguayo, a 7th grader here at Dana Middle School says, “I think that mental illness jokes can have an impact on the people around them, the people who suffer with that illness.”

Therefore, when you make comments about mental illness you have absolutely no idea who you are offending.

This stigma needs to be addressed. People need to be educated about mental health and its consequences. People should be taught to respect mental health issues, and that making jokes about mental illness contributes to the harm and suffering of people who experience them. Making the jokes can be triggering as well.