man in black jacket and pants standing beside blue railings during daytime

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. 

Works Cited

“Mental Health: Everyone Needs Empathy.” Community Reach Center, 16 July 2019,

“The Quiet Power of Empathic Listening.” Mental Health First Aid, 27 Sept. 2017,

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November 2, 2020 3:29 pm

I really liked how you tied the idea of a single story to the issues mental health can cause. This is also relatable because with how our society is today mental illness is a very present issue and I know many people that struggle with these issues, and many times I have to break the single story idea and put myself in their shoes in order to try and help them and understand what they are going through. I really liked this article and I think it was super relatable and understandable

October 30, 2020 4:04 pm

Mary, I really like your post about mental health and empathy. I think you did a really good job tying the ideas of empathy and a single story into mental health awareness. I agree with you on how empathy is very important especially for people with mental health issues. And I like how you said to look past the single story of mental health and have empathy. because often I think people have negative stereotypes towards mental illness and it results in a lack of empathy and understanding about what they are going through.

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