The Pineapple and Potato – A Story about Mental Health

Mental health isn’t a competition.

Comparing one person’s mental health to another,

It is like comparing a potato and a pineapple.

And, let’s face it….

You can’t compare a pineapple and potato

So, we cannot minimise one person’s mental health on the basis of a perception the other is worst


So, today, I’m sharing a story

A story of two children

One called potato

One called pineapple

Pineapple is extroverted, loud, gregarious and riddled with anxiety

Potato is introverted, shy, disciplined, perhaps a little bit of a perfectionist with anxiety

Pineapple attends school, clubs and activities

Potato’s attendance has been a bit erratic, they hide away from busy things

Pineapple pushes themselves – hard – to get through each day, not wanting to be seen as failing

Potato watches pineapple and wishes that they could find that courage

But when they get home, in the safety of their bedroom, pineapple’s walls quiver, their bottom lip wobbles and their strong exterior shakes and wobbles

Potato will sit, quietly, struggling, seeking out comfort where they need it, willingly hoping that people might release some of their strains


Yet, each day, pineapple hears ‘Your issues weren’t as bad as potato’s’

‘Come on pineapple, don’t make a fuss, potato has it worst’

‘When you’re finished can you do xyz’

on the odd day, when pineapple’s sturdy resolve drops they hear ‘Stop attention seeking potato has more’

when they finally pluck up the courage to ask for help, pineapple listens as they are told… ‘Your problems aren’t as bad as potato you don’t meet criteria – they do’


Whilst potato hears

‘Come on, be more like pineapple’

‘I dealt with worst in my day’

‘What are you making a fuss about, your life is easy’

‘if you just push yourself you’ll be fine’

‘if you don’t attend school your mum and dad will get fined’


No matter what they do,

Potato can’t be pineapple

Pineapple can’t be potato

Whilst they share an anxiety label

Their differences are so great that they cannot be compared

Just because pineapple is he master of masking, it doesn’t mean those feelings aren’t like a tidal wave

Just because potato’s feelings are in a stable stage of anxiety, does not mean their impact is less

Who are we to tell pineapple that their worries matter less?

Who are we to tell potato that their worries matter more?


Just like mental health

One person can be drowning but not be in the water

Another person can be drowning in plain sight


So, before you try and compare potato and pineapple’s mental health

Remember that mental health is individual

Worries are unique

Feelings are not always obvious

Symptoms cannot always be seen

What might kill one is small fry to another

What is small fry to one may kill another


No one has the authority to tell you that your feelings do not matter

If your worries bother you – they are valid

Your feelings are not comparable to anyone else’s

And, right now, in this moment

All adults need to step up and check that they haven’t got their potatoes and pineapples muddled up

They need to check their friends, their families, their children, their neighbours, and even those strangers on social media

The teachers need to check their classrooms,

The professionals need to take a moment to check their lists

They need to take their eyes off their screens and just check in

As do the teens and young people, who might have noticed, that just recently, pineapple might be struggling or potato might be absent, and maybe, they need to tell an adult if they know something is not quite right

All of us need to check if their pineapples need a helping hand to take their bravery cloaks off, a listening ear or a hand to guide them to help

All of us need to check if potato is dry drowning and is getting the help to manage that constant flow of feelings


So, if you take nothing else,

Just check on your pineapples

Your potatoes

Maybe you even have some strawberries – who bounce about all day, but at night, they just cant sleep….


Because, just like Pineapples can’t be compared to potatoes

We can’t compare two people’s mental health and say one is more important than the other

And we should never make them feel that that is what we are doing

So, next time you’re faced with a pineapple and a potato

Remember they both have problems

They just show them differently

The outsides might be different

The symptoms might vary

The reactions might be variable

But the feeling that they are sinking into quick sand with nothing to cling onto., might be similar

And if someone tells you they are struggling

It’s not your right to tell them that because they are not a potato it does not matter

Or because they are a pineapple they can do this

So, instead

Lets take them by the hand

Find a quiet space

Open our ears

And ask them to tell us how they feel

Or what they need

And promise them some help

Then seek it out for them

Advocating every step of the way

Because mental health matters

To all of us

To the pineapples and potatoes alike

Mental health matters

But to make it matter

We need to notice it.


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Further help 

For more articles about mental health visit – HERE 

To learn more about child and adolescent mental health visit – HERE

For resources to support child and adolescent mental health visit – HERE

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