What is your profession?
Social Work Education
What forms of experience have you had with people with mental health disorders?
Personally, I have family members who have mental disorders; and professionally, I have worked with clients with mental disorders
What should people know about people with mental health disorders?
People with mental disorders are like everyone else but are impacted by society's misunderstanding and stigma towards mental disorders.
Also, because society has not invested in comprehensive and ongoing research and services for individuals with mental disorders, they are also affected by inadequate and out dated treatment for mental disorders
Have you found in your experience that a lot of them are violent?
No, not generally. I believe that many of them are suffering in isolation and in silence. However, the media's sensationalism of those who act in violent ways reinforces the stigma of all individuals with mental disorders
What can someone do if they have a friend or family member has an ongoing mental health disorder?
There are a few things that I found helpful for those individuals in my family and friendship circle affected by mental disorders:
1. I needed to become self aware of my own bias and lack of knowledge about the particular mental disorder my loved one was suffering from
2. I needed not to keep silent about my loved ones disorder as if there was shame or embarrassment by their disorder, any differently than any other medical illness
3. I needed to help my loved one understand how the social stigma might impact their self esteem, denial about having the disorder, seeking help or refusal to follow their treatment for the disorder
In your opinion is there a stigma with those who have mental health disorders?
Definitely, which adds greatly to the unjust suffering of individuals with mental disorders and their loved ones
What is some advice you can give to a family or friends that have a loved one going through a mental health disorder?
Beyond what I have previously said, if you are able, get involved in any way you can to break the stigma towards mental disorders; or to advocate for better research and more effective treatment for individuals affected by mental disorders