Recent polls across western countries found Canadians most open to discuss mental health:). Although this is great news to feel proud about, we still have a ways to go in normalizing and ending the stigma of mental illness.
An article on Ted.com lays out what we can do to help open up communication about mental health.
Two of our favourites tips are:
Separate the person from the problem : Language is a powerful tool and calling identifying someone by their mental illness can be disempowering. They recommend seperating the person from the problem by saying things like "someone with schizophrenia" not a "schizophrenic". This is also a good tip when referring to our own issues, as in "I am suffering from depression" or "I have been feeling depressed" rather than "I am depressed".
The article makes a point of explaining that what this does is describe the issue and something that is "not part of a person" but rather "something the person is suffering from or living with".
Recognize the achievements of people with Mental Health issues : There are a lot of amazing people who have suffered from mental health issues. The article says that we should be "emphasizing how many really creative people, people whose books we love,whose movies we love,their arts,have has a lot or problems with depression" and that part of the same genetics that many cause depression could also be the cause of sensitivity and creativity.