Mental health is important for all ages and throughout every stage of life. It refers to our emotional, psychological, and social well being and helps to determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices every day. There are many misconceptions about mental illnesses and overall mental well being, and contrary to popular belief, mental health problems are actually a very common issue for many Americans. Do you know the difference between the myths and facts? Learn the truth behind many of the common mental health myths:
Myth: I’m not affected by mental health issues.
Fact: These issues are actually more common than you may think. In 2014, one in five adults struggled with a mental issue and one in ten young people experienced a period of major depression. These problems can affect everyone, whether it’s a personal issue or a close friend or family member, it’s important to be aware of the warning signs to best help someone struggling with a mental health issue.
Myth: Children aren’t affected by mental health issues.
Fact: Even young children can show early warning signs of serious health concerns. Oftentimes, these issues can be diagnosed early and can be the product of the interaction of different psychological, biological, and social factors. Half of all related disorders show signs before the age of 14 and three quarters begin before the age of 24. Unfortunately, less than 20% of children and adolescents struggling with mental health issues receive the help that they need. Early support and intervention can be the key to helping a child before problems interfere with developmental needs.
Myth: Personality weaknesses can cause mental health problems. Those with issues can “snap out of it” if they try hard enough.
Fact: These problems have nothing to do with being weak or lazy, but many people need help to get better. Some of the causes of issues are:
- Biological factors: Genes, physical illness, brain chemistry, or injury.
- Life experience: Trauma or a history of abuse.
- Family history of mental health problems.
Myth: There’s no hope for someone once they develop a mental health issue.
Fact: People with mental health issues can get better and many even recover completely. There are more treatments, support systems, and services than ever before to support those with a mental health problem and help them to live full, healthy lives.
Myth: Those with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.
Fact: Many people with mental health issues are highly active and functional members of our communities. The majority of people struggling with them are no more likely to be more violent than anyone else. Only 3% – 5% of violent acts can be attributed to someone with a serious mental illness. Sadly, people with mental illnesses are actually 10 times more likely to be a victim of a violent crime when compared to the general population.
Myth: People with mental health needs are unable to have a job.
Fact: People with mental health issues are just as productive as other employees when they’re able to receive their necessary treatment. Employers who hire those with mental health issues report that their attendance, motivation, quality of work, and punctuality is on par with or greater than other employees. When receiving proper treatment, those with mental health problems can experience increased productivity, lower absenteeism, and decreased total medical costs.
Myth: There’s nothing I can do to help someone with a problem.
Fact: Friends and family can make a huge difference in helping someone get the treatment and services that they need. Only 44% of adults with diagnosable mental disorders get the treatment that they require. Friends and family members can make a big impact on someone’s road to recovery by letting them know you’re there to help, by helping them to access treatment services, by learning and sharing facts about mental illnesses, by treating them with respect, and by refusing to define them by their diagnosis.
Positive headspace allows people to reach their full potential and make meaningful impacts in their communities. To maintain a healthy mental state, it’s important to connect with others, stay positive, be physically active, get enough sleep, develop coping skills, and reach out for help if you need it. If you or a loved one is struggling with an issue, you’re not alone. The Brevard Health Alliance provides behavioral healthcare with Board Certified Psychologists and Psychiatrists for children, adolescents, adults, and families who are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing. To schedule an appointment or to talk with a member of our team, contact us today.