Mental health awareness advocate and comedian Bill Bernat delivered a speech on depression for TED, telling his audience of his own experiences as a recovering addict and someone diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
He opens by talking about an uplifting conversation he had years back that changed his perspective, which allowed him to be completely honest about his mental health issues. For the first time, he felt comfortable discussing personal struggles that he had kept hidden for so long, without feeling as though he had to act like everything was okay.
Bernat continues by considering the divide that exists between those dealing with mental health issues, and those who might not understand how to deal with it, or are afraid of talking about it because they feel there's too much pressure for them to react a certain way. Humorously, Bernat recommends that people simply be friendly, and act "more like Ellen" (the talk show host).
He goes on to explain a few simple "don'ts" when speaking to people with depression, such as insensitive phrases like "just get over it," or to invest themselves in "finding a cure," which can put a lot of unnecessary pressure on someone. Additionally, he reminds his audience to not take a negative response personally.
He continues by explaining some of the "dos," which include talking in a natural voice and not being afraid to show happiness, and to state what they can and cannot do if offering a helping hand. Often times, just inviting someone to see a movie or to go out for a coffee can be incredibly uplifting.
With his speech on depression, Bernat shows how people can be there for their loved ones when dealing with mental health issues, and highlights a few of the different ways in which they can properly and comfortably offer their support.
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