I can’t believe that I’m even writing this article, to be honest. I can’t believe that this article needs to be written. But it does. So here I am, about to shed some light on why mental illness jokes just need to stop.

We’re a generation obsessed with being funny. We feed off memes; we converse in fluent sarcasm; we create relationships based upon who can make us laugh. But this desperate desire to be amusing simply leads to so many of us treading the fine line between funny and wholly inappropriate.

1. Mental illnesses are already underweighted

beer, cake, coffee, tea
Mun Ling Koh

Though countless studies have proven that mental illnesses are just as serious and widespread as many physical illnesses, they are continuously undermined. There are stigmas attached to mental illnesses that aren’t present in any other kind of sickness that make it difficult for people to admit that they have a serious problem and need help. By joking about these issues it just affirms the foolish notion that mental illnesses are made up and aren’t a cause for concern: after all, they’re just something to laugh about, right?

2. Many people who suffer from mental illnesses don't admit it

Mun Ling Koh

Because of these ridiculous stigmas, it’s often very hard to judge who is suffering from a mental illness or how it affects them. Therefore, when you make comments you have absolutely no idea who you are offending — or even worse, triggering. When you joke about cutting, you probably don’t notice the guy in the corner who pulls his sleeves down and clams up. When you make a quip about starving yourself you're just reminding the atypical anorectic who doesn't have obvious symptoms that she needs to give in to the the voices in her mind.

3. It's incredibly hard to ask someone to stop

Mun Ling Koh

I’ve done it. It took a lot of courage for me to turn round to one of my best friends and tell them that it was bothering me. The truth is that I’d endured years of stomach knots and freezing and being filled with dread every single time someone made a joke before I finally worked up the guts to admit that it was triggering. The more jokes that appeared in one conversation, the sicker I felt, the more stupid and undermined I felt, the more isolated I felt. It convinced me that I could never tell anyone what I was going through.

4. You wouldn't joke about a physical illness 

tea, pizza, coffee
Mun Ling Koh

Jokes about serious physical illnesses are just not cool, so why would jokes about mental illnesses be okay? Mental illnesses aren't the sufferer's fault so why should they be laughed at?

So next time that you think you're being hilarious about mental illnesses, stop and think before you open your mouth. Think about the consequences — sure, your comments might not affect anyone, but here's the catch: what if they do? What if, like me, someone hears your tasteless joke and snaps? What if they freeze, what if their heart starts racing, what if their palms start getting sweaty?

What if it pushes them over the edge?

Is your warped humour really worth the expense of someone's health?

So stop. Think again.

You never know what effect your words might have on someone.