People are very afraid of labelling. What more if it about labelling them as mental patient. How do I explain in order to minimize stigma. This is just my way of doing things. You can follow if you like. The example below is how I go about normalizing the stigma about mood disorder.
Man is in fact an emotional creature. Everyone experiences happiness, sadness, fear, disgust and anger. These emotions help us to identify our place among our friends.
Emotions come and go like waves. They determine our state of mind. Everyone has ups and downs. Sometimes you feel sad and at other times you are happy. It’s very much like the waves in the South China Sea (because I am living near the South China Sea). These variation of mood is part of life. It is not unusual to feel sad in adversity.
But it is abnormal to feel sad for too long and to the extend that you cannot go to work (or to school). When your emotional experiences are very intense, they can become like in a monsoon season.
If you descend to the depths, you are suffering from depression. If you ascend to the height you are suffering form mania. Both episodes when we total up is called bipolar disorder.
In most instances, my patients are happy to this kind of approach. Then you can proceed in explaining about drugs, side-effect and the important of compliance.