Have you ever found yourself wondering after hearing about a shooting or a mass murder that the person who committed the crime "MUST be a psycho", "a schizo" or "at least have mental health issues"? How do you think this kind of thinking shapes the way we perceive people who are struggling with their mental health?
Studies are showing that we often perceive these people as "uncontrollable", "dangerous" and "angry". Not surprising really, is it?
We're all guilty. We all fall victim to holding stigmatizing views for one reason or another but that doesn't mean that we can't challenge them and change.
Ask questions to people who are managing their own mental health issues: this could be a friend or family member.
Show empathy: listen to others, try to understand.
Notice your language: would you like others talking about you in this way?
Be more aware of judging others. We never know what baggage another person is carrying.
There is evidence to show us that many young people developing psychosis or experiencing significant mental health concerns are reluctant to engage with helpful services as they experience high levels of social anxiety and shame. The language we use and the views that we hold contribute to this anxiety and shame.
It's time we help others and keep our labels for gifts and jars.