Why Is Mental Health Hard To Talk About? (Top 9 Reasons You Must Know)

Why is mental health hard to talk about
Why is mental health hard to talk about

Why is mental health hard to talk about, especially in Nigeria?



Mental health is generally a difficult topic to talk about. This is because of a lot of issues that surround it.

Many people struggle to let out their mental health issues and in most cases, those that want to do not know the right person to talk about.

In this blog post, you are going to be looking at the reasons why mental health is difficult to talk about. You’re going to be looking at why people find it hard to talk about mental health in Nigeria.

Reasons why mental health is hard to talk about

We’re going straight into the reasons why mental health is difficult to talk about in Nigeria.

The reasons are as follows:

1) Stigma

People with mental health issues still face a lot of stigma in our society.

Let us compare this with issues faced by AIDS patients previously.

When the issue of HIV/AIDS was still relatively new, it was quite difficult talking about the disease.

People with HIV AIDS were seen in a bad light.

In fact, having HIV AIDS was equated to a death sentence.

People with the disease could not open up or talk about their diagnosis and some of them could not even access treatments that were needed to keep them alive.

Now back to mental health. Mental health is still being treated with stigma and in society today, when we talk about mental health, people still see mental health people that are mad or crazy and use a lot of derogatory names against those that have mental health challenges.

So in this atmosphere, people are going to find it very difficult to open up about their mental health struggles.

What if you want to talk about this and then you hear somebody make a joke about people with mental health issues and call them mad and so many other negative names?

You may eventually find yourself withdrawing and staying in your shell and not being able to talk about your mental health challenges.

2) Fear of being misunderstood

A lot of people have mental health issues and they are afraid to open up.

This is because they are afraid of being labeled wrongly or misunderstood.

We live in a society where everybody has opinions about everything.

So when someone comes up, for instance, and says he has mental health issues or challenges, he may discover that some people may misinterpret that information and may begin to see that person in a bad light or may judge him wrongly.

They may begin to make side comments or statements that suggest probably that such a person is a weakling or person is not able to live up to his or her responsibilities, or the person is mentally lazy, among other negative assumptions against such a person.

In a bid to avoid being misunderstood or judged incorrectly by the society, many people with mental health issues keep the information or their struggles to themselves.

Even in the family circle, some are also afraid to talk about it because they fear their families will also not understand and will mock them.

3) Sign of weakness

When people have mental health issues and they are not able to talk about it, one of the reasons is because they don’t want to be seen as being weak.

Let’s take this scenario: Imagine a top music artist, for instance, that is struggling with mental health challenges.

This guy has a lot of fans and propeople following him on social media.

He does a lot of things and people he influences via his music.

Imagine the same person now coming out tomorrow to say he has one mental health challenge.

He will be worried about some things.

For instance, he may ask himself: How can I just come and admit I have a mental health issue?

People are going to feel that this is a sign of weakness; hose people may start looking down on me or they may mock me or blow the whole thing out of proportion.

4) Lack of understanding or education about mental health

Mental health knowledge or education about what mental health is quite low in our society.

Many people don’t even know the signs of somebody struggling with depression, for instance.

Many people don’t know what to expect or what to look out for in someone that is going through some mental health challenges.

So when we come across these people with mental health problems, we are not even able to know because we lack the knowledge on how to identify and be of help to them.

Because of this low mental health literacy society, some people go throughserious mental health issues and get little or no help.

Some people may have, for instance, depression and they may eve be at the point of suicide.

Most people may not be able to detect it until the person eventually dies or kills himself.

Then people will start making comments suggesting they felt the victim had been alright all along.

So, because of the low mental health education in Nigeria, people are still living in ignorance about mental health issues.

It’s very difficult for those that have these issues to open up and talk about it.

5) How to describe what one is going through

When people have mental health issues, sometimes they are not even able to express correctly the feelings they go through.

For instance, this moment, the person is feeling good and even elated, and the next moment this person is feeling very low or depressed.

So the person finds it difficult to even describe what is going on inside him or her.

Even when he wants to talk about it, he doesn’t know how to express himself or herself correctly so that he will be understood.

At the end of the day, even if they talk to people about it, those people may not even be able to appreciate what they are saying since they cannot find the right words to express what they are going through.

So this becomes a problem because finding the right words to describe one’s experiences is very important.

If not, the person will not be able to understand.

6) Being able to relate to the person’s struggles

Another issue that people with mental health issues face when they are thinking of who to talk to about the mental health issues is who is going to understand them and relate with them at their level.

Sometimes people with mental health issues, they already feel bad and see themselves as abnormal.

They already have a lot of negative emotions.

When they want to talk to somebody, they find it difficult because they don’t know if the person is going to really understand them or relate with what they are saying.

For instance, when they say they are feeling depressed or they are feeling low, they don’t know if the person they are going to talk with is going to appreciate what they are explaining.

Most times they keep the information themselves because of the fear that if they speak up, the person may just look at him and not even understand what he’s saying.

7) Fear of being seen as a burden to others

Some people with mental health issues don’t want to stress other people with their problems.

People already have different problems or challenges they are going through.

So when people have mental health issues, sometimes they don’t want to begin to bring their issues to some other people because they feel other people have their problems too to deal with.

So they don’t want to bring extra problems for these ones to deal handle.

They eventually stay in silence.

8) Fear of unpleasant consequences

When people have mental health issues, some have fears about what it may result to if they talk about their problems.

For instance, imagine somebody working in an organization as a top management official of the organization or holding a sensitive role in an establishment.

The person has some mental health issues.

He or she may be afraid to open up because he feels he may be vuctimized at the workplace.

He may be looked at on as incompetent or the roles and responsibilities he handles may be taken away from him.

In some places the person may feel that the way the other employees view or treat him will change negatively.

So they hide this information about their mental health challenges.

This is because they want to keep on to their jobs.

They are not sure of getting something better to do if they lose their current job.

In some cases too, in some competitive environments, the person may feel if he reveals this information, “competitors” or
other workers that are interested in his job may use that information to work against him and probably try convince the management of the company to let the person go so that they’ll be able to take over.

9) Availability of mental health resources

One of the main issues why people are reluctant about talking about their mental health struggles or challenges is because some of them don’t know where to go to seek help or to seek counsel about their mental health issues.

Yes, we have some hospitals and Non-Governmental Organizations that deal with mental health in Nigeria, but they are not sufficient.

Imagine somebody staying in a state where they are just one or two mental health establishment and the person has to go very far in order to assess treatment.

The person may not be able to do that.

How does the person assess these resources?

This becomes a problem because the person is not able to assess the help he needs and on time.

What could be done about these challenges?

1) Mental health awareness or literacy should be stepped up.

Campaigns should be stepped up in the area of mental health.

People should be made to know what the general features of people with mental health issues are and how to be of help to them.

2) Mental health facilities or resources should be increased and made more accessible.

People should be encouraged to invest in the mental health space.

Both government and non governmental organizations should be able to go into this area fully and help to shore up the needed resources.

3) People should be encouraged to be considerate of people with mental health issues.

There’s a lot of stress going on in society and people are bombarded with a lot of negativities from morning till night.

So when someone has mental health issue, members of the public, especially those around him, should be encouraged by supportive.

4) Support groups.

Support groups should be encouraged and created for people with mental health issues.

This will help people in recovery and also in the treatment process.


Mental health is a difficult topic to talk about and many people are scared most times to open up about the struggles they have.

The ultimate goal should be to encourage people that are having mental health issues to speak up so that they can get the necessary treatment required.


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