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Mental Illness Guide: Care, Support, and Education
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How can I meet people?

Know when and how to tell people about your illness

One of the biggest problems people with mental illness have is that some people think they are different and do not accept them.

Meeting new people and developing new friendships can be very stressful.  Having symptoms of mental illness can make it worse. Your illness may make it harder for you to meet new people and let them get to know you.

If you do meet someone new, you might not want to start out by talking about your illness. Let people see you as a person. Let people get to know you. Then when you know they like you for who you are, you can let them know about your illness. This way, they are much more likely to keep talking to you and be your friend.

If you do decide to let a new friend know about your illness, you do not have to be too specific. You can describe your illness by:

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Using general terms, such as, I have a disability, or I have a medical condition.

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Using more specific terms, such as, I have a brain disorder, or I have problems with stress.

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Referring to a mental illness, such as, I have a mental illness, or I have a mental disability, or I have a psychiatric disorder.

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Using the name of your illness. I have schizophrenia.

Maybe you cannot decide whether or not to tell new friends that you have a mental illness. You may want to talk about this problem with your doctor, family or mental health worker so that you will feel more prepared to handle it. The people who truly care about you will understand, accept and support you.

Take your medications

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Your medicine can help reduce some of the symptoms of your illness that make it hard for you to be around others. If you take your medicine:

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You should have more chances to socialize. The medicine will help you control your symptoms, and you will not want to be alone quite as much.

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Your interest in being with other people should return.

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Being around people will be more comfortable because your symptoms will be less. For example, one of your symptoms might be that you always think people are out to get you. You will have more fun around other people if you do not think they are talking about you or trying to hurt you.

Find the right social settings

As you begin to get better, you will start to feel better being with people and socializing. It is important to find places to go that support you in getting well again. Support s and drop-in centers are good places to start.