I deal with this sort of thing with my family – this stigma. Dad feels I am incapable of making medical decisions about my mental health. He also feels I cannot handle money efficiently or responsibly due to my illness. It was interesting to read the results of this study below as they so echoed my own experiences with stigma and mental illness. Dad has often told me he is afraid of me when I get very mentally ill. I had a 9mm Glock handgun that dad took away from me for fears I would shoot people or harm them in the throes of my mental illness. I have never shown any violent tendencies when ill or well for that matter. There is an estimated 1.4 million Americans with schizophrenia at any given time and it takes only one crazy person on a killing spree shown on the national news to instill fear in Americans about people with mental illness thus perpetuating this stigma. The news media loves this kind of thing and should be ashamed at the harm they are doing to all the law abiding mentally ill citizens.
Social stigma has been identified as a major obstacle in the recovery of patients with schizophrenia. In a large, representative sample from a 1999 study, 12.8% of Americans believed that individuals with schizophrenia were "very likely" to do something violent against others, and 48.1% said that they were "somewhat likely" to. Over 74% said that people with schizophrenia were either "not very able" or "not able at all" to make decisions concerning their treatment, and 70.2% said the same of money management decisions. The perception of individuals with psychosis as violent has more than doubled in prevalence since the 1950s, according to one meta-analysis.