Are people who experience mental illness more violent?
The correlation between mentally ill individuals and violence is a myth that has been debunked. The vast majority of people with mental illness are not violent, as only 3%–5% of violent acts can be attributed to people living with a serious mental illness.3
How should we refer to individuals with mental illnesses?
When we treat individuals experiencing mental illnesses the same way we treat those experiencing physical illnesses, that can go a long way in helping to remove any stigma. For example, we refer to people experiencing cancer as “survivors” and “heroes.”. We also tend to call individuals battling other serious physical illnesses “brave” and “strong.”
When we adopt a similar attitude toward those battling mental illnesses, we help reframe the experience much more positively for them.
How else can we help people with mental illness?
In addition to framing their experiences more positively, we can help those experiencing mental illness the same way we would with those experiencing physical ones: by being a good listener, helping the individual find treatment resources, talking with the family, and learning as much as possible about the disorder.
How can people with mental illnesses help themselves?
If someone thinks they have a mental illness, the most important thing they can do is seek help. That can mean starting with their doctor, a community resource, a trusted family member, or a friend.
It’s also vital that individuals keep in mind that there’s no shame in taking care of themselves. The more they learn about their disorder and actionable solutions, the more empowered they’ll feel.
People can and do recover from mental illnesses. By actively listening, providing support, and showing compassion, each one of us can make a difference and help reduce mental illness stigma in our communities.