Talking with others: to share or not to share

Deciding when, how and with whom you will share information about your illness and treatment is a choice that each individual must make after weighing the pros and cons. Keep in mind that people must make these same choices when deciding whether or not to share information about physical diagnoses as well.  

The ultimate protection from the discrimination and stigma associated with mental illness is to tell no one.  Secrecy is certainly a commonly-employed strategy. However, this protection comes at a cost: with secrecy comes withdrawal and isolation. Living in a “conspiracy of silence” can have harmful effects of its own. Many find that appropriate sharing with close family and friends is “liberating,”, and also helps fight stigma.

Although there are no right or wrong answers, there are guidelines you can follow when evaluating each situation.  Following these steps will help you feel more confident in your decisions.

As you begin to think through the issue of talking with others, here are few rules of thumb :

Tips for evaluating each situation

There are general pros and cons to consider when determining whether or not to share your personal information with another person: