It is April Fool’s day and unfortunately, the practical jokes will be kept to a minimum today due to the ongoing Coronavirus quarantine. I would say the joke is on all of us, but there is nothing funny about a global pandemic that according to the World Health Organization has already killed over 48,000 people. And another thing that isn’t funny for April Fool’s Day is mental illness.
There are many things that contribute to the stigma surrounding mental illness. One of those things, unfortunately, is that mental illness is still treated as an insult or as the punchline of some joke. And as today is the day of jokes and pranks, it is important to remember that the fun comes at the expense of someone fighting a battle with mental illness.
Don’t play a joke on someone unless you are certain that it is something they would appreciate. Don’t use mental health terms as punchlines in conjunction with an April Fool’s prank. Just don’t.
I shouldn’t have to say this, but unfortunately, I do. I see mental illness thrown around in punchline and cheap insults far too often, insults that sting more to those suffering in silence than to the barb’s intended target. April Fool’s Day can be a time of great laughter, and laughter can be great medicine for us all, but only if all are treated with the respect we all deserve.