Myth #18: I can’t do anything for a person with mental illness.*
Facts: You can do a lot, starting with how you act and speak. You can create an environment that builds on people’s strengths and promotes understanding. People who have mental illness can often be highly functional individuals. For example: Don’t label people with words like “crazy,” “wacko,” or “loony” or define them by their diagnosis. Instead of saying someone is “a schizophrenic,” say he or she “has schizophrenia.” Don’t say “a schizophrenic person,” say “a person with schizophrenia.” This is called “people-first” language, andit’s important to make a distinction between the person and the illness.
Learn the facts about mental health and share them with others, especially if you hear something that isn’t true.
Treat people with mental illnesses with respect and dignity, just as you would anybody else.
Respect the rights of people with mental illnesses and don’t discriminate against them when it comes to housing, employment, or education. Like other people with disabilities, people with mental health problems are protected under federal and state laws.