Cartoon: treating mental health the same as we do physical health

Sometimes cartoons get the point across better than words. Related to this blog

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I’ve recently cut ties off with a ‘friend’ who seemed to be using me as her pet social project – it got quite tiresome dealing with her “helpful advice” that was anything but helpful.

Before you give someone with a disability any advice, especially “helpful” advice to a person with an invisible disability, consider:

  • is it accurate, or did you just read it on the internet somewhere?
  • correlation is not causation, and anecdotes are not substitutes for clinical trials. Just because X thing worked well for a person you know, doesn’t mean it’s some wonder cure for all people with that ailment.
  • is it something that a person living with this condition is likely to be aware of themselves, or is it new research that is cutting edge and not well known?
  • are you saying something that is actually helpful or are you just talking for the sake of hearing your own voice?
  • have you tried to empathise with the person you are about to bombard with “helpful advice” – not just sympathise but empathise?

Empathy is not sympathy, and to be frank, sympathy without empathy is really annoying –  it’s patronising, it’s all “I know all the things, let me tell you all the things without stopping for a moment to consider whether you might already know all these things or have other barriers in the way to prevent you from doing these things.”

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How to fail at communication: song and dance

Some things benefit from the addition of music and dance.

Corporate, professional communication… not one of them!

I suspect Siemens will survive this naff folie de grandeur. One of the greatest mysteries of capitalism is the way that companies can say and do boneheaded things while their business sails imperviously on.

Even so, it has set an example to companies everywhere of how silly you can look when you ignore three basic rules of corporate communication.

The first says large companies must never turn to song. There is not a single example of a business putting its values to music without mass humiliation.

Read more: AFR, 15 May 2016