Empathy plays an important role in many situations, especially in situations pertaining to mental illness. The way one expresses empathy towards those with mental illness can affect one’s relationship with the person, positively or negatively. One may see someone’s struggle with mental illness only from their own perspective, representing the single story, or in this case perspective.
The Community Reach Center states that empathy is “the ability to put yourself in someone else’s position both intellectually and emotionally” (“Mental Health: Everyone Needs Empathy”). Being empathetic towards someone with a mental illness breaks the single story aspect because one is seeing two perspectives instead of one. In the quote that says, “For a person experiencing a mental health problem, having an empathetic listener can be calming and reassuring – even healing,” (“The Quiet Power of Empathic Listening”)
We can see how having empathy towards someone with mental illness is very important in strengthening the relationship between the two people. This is because empathetic listening can cause healing for the person suffering. The quote, “By showing empathy, you can help the person in front of you calm down,” (“The Quiet Power of Empathic Listening”) shows how helpful being empathetic can be for those struggling with mental illness. It can help the person to feel more understood and thus, strengthen the relationship between the two people.
Overall, it is so beneficial to see past the single story of mental illness and to be empathetic towards those with mental illness as those people will take notice and feel supported.
“Mental Health: Everyone Needs Empathy.” Community Reach Center, 16 July 2019, www.communityreachcenter.org/news/everyone-needs-empathy/.
“The Quiet Power of Empathic Listening.” Mental Health First Aid, 27 Sept. 2017, www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/2017/07/quiet-power-listening/.