4 Myths and Facts about Mental Illness

Storms in the mind

4 Myths and Facts about Mental Illness

Mental health conditions affect as much as 20% of the American population at some point in their lives. In spite of this staggering number of cases, mental health conditions remain poorly understood by the public. Media portrayals of mental health and the pervasive urban myths about them go a long way towards maintaining this fact. An important part of being a supportive person for those with mental health disorders is education. Below we’ve presented a list of the myths and facts about mental health.

Fact Or Fiction: Four Things To Know About Mental Health

One of the most frequent misconceptions many have is that their lives aren’t affected by mental health conditions. Almost 10% of all American youth have experienced severe depression. Out of all adult Americans, one in 25 has lived with a severe mental illness. These can include major depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder. In the US, the 10th leading cause of death is suicide. A significant number of these cases involve mental health concerns. It’s even possible for young children to exhibit early signs of mental health problems. With all this in mind, it’s a rare person indeed who doesn’t have contact with an individual in their life who suffers from a mental health condition. 

  • Myth 1: Children don’t have mental health problems – It’s entirely possible for very young children to have mental health concerns. Many of these problems can be diagnosed and treated. These conditions are often due to social, biological, or social factors in their lives. Mental health disorders frequently make their first appearance before the age of 14, with 75% of them starting by age 24. Less than 20% of all children under age 18 get the treatment they need for mental health disorders.
  • Myth 2: Mental Health Disorders Make People Unpredictable and Violent – There is no evidence that those with mental health disorders have higher rates of violence than anyone else. Only 3-5% of all violent acts have a mental health component. In the overwhelming majority of violent crime cases involving those who have mental health conditions, they are the victims.
  • Myth 3: Holding A Job Isn’t Possible With Mental Health Issues – Even those with mental health conditions can be excellent employees. These conditions far more often have a direct effect on their personal life, while they remain punctual and effective at work. Further, those mental health sufferers who have jobs can get the treatment they need far easier.
  • Myth 4: Mental Health Problems Stem From Weaknesses in Personality – There is a misconception that those with mental health concerns can just ‘snap out of it’. These conditions aren’t a result of laziness, weakness, or a failure of the individual. Many mental health conditions require getting help to manage or overcome.

These myths represent the most pervasive misconceptions about mental health and those who live with it.

Strive To Become An Ally By Educating Yourself

The majority of us can benefit from therapy. Even those who don’t have a mental health concern themselves can learn how to be an ally to those who are struggling. Making a call to a therapist is a good first step towards managing your own concerns and learning how to help others.

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April is the founder of Prestige Mental Health and is a board certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP-BC) who is qualified to practice primary care and psychiatry. She is passionate about providing quality, compassionate, and comprehensive mental health services to children, adolescents, and adults. April specializes in psychiatric illnesses including but not limited to depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, PTSD/trauma, bipolar, and schizophrenia.