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The way we talk about mental health is broken. Here’s how to fix it.

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If you’ve never experienced a bout of depression or anxiety, it might be easy to assume that it only happens to “some” people. But here’s the thing about mental illness: It doesn’t discriminate.

People who have built wildly successful companies and seem to have all of the trappings of someone “on top” are just as vulnerable as those founders who are struggling in the startup stage.

The phrase “mental illness” tends to be used in a derogatory manner. “He must be mentally ill.” “She has a mental illness.”

But we don’t talk about physical health that way. No one ever describes someone else by saying, “He’s physically ill.”

When it comes to physical health, we understand that health is a broad spectrum. Some people wear glasses. Others have bad knees. But we don’t group everyone together and say they’re “physically ill.”

Mental health is a continuum. And there’s a good chance you aren’t at the “completely mentally healthy” end of the spectrum. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 17 percent of adults are functioning at “optimal mental health.” And it’s likely that no one stays functioning at optimal mental health indefinitely.

Stress, a change in circumstances, disruptions to sleep, a change in diet, or family-related issues are just a few of the things that could affect you and your employees’ mental health on any given day. Read more.

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