As we all know, mental health is a very taboo subject within our society. There is a stigma that surrounds the topic because we are so fixated on the myths about mental health. In an effort to lessen the stigma of mental health, here are the truths behind the most common misconceptions about mental health.
FEW PEOPLE SUFFER FROM A MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION:
For so many people, this myth serves as a justification for why mental health doesn’t need to be talked about or why it is not important. However, 46.4% of American adults will experience a mental illness at some point in their lifetime; moreover, 43.8 million people will suffer from a mental illness in any given year. In reality, the prevalence of mental health issues should encourage people to talk about the subject more.
MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS DO NOT AFFECT CHILDREN AND YOUTH:
Mental health problems – including depression, anxiety, and conduct disorder – affect about 1 in 5 children and youth. Alarmingly, however, 70% of children who are experiencing a mental health problem have not received appropriate mental health services. The emotional wellbeing of a child is equally as important as their physical health as it has a great impact on their development and character.
PEOPLE CAN “SNAP OUT OF” THEIR MENTAL ILLNESS:
Mental illness is due to a combination of biological factors (genes, illness, brain chemistry), life experiences (trauma, abuse), and family history of mental health problems. All of these factors are uncontrollable and thus mental illness takes a lot more than just a snap of a finger to be cured. For most, it will take months or years of treatment and support to recover.
PEOPLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS ARE “CRAZY” OR “DANGEROUS”:
People with a mental health issue are generally nonviolent. In fact, only 3-5% of violent acts can be attributed to people with a serious mental illness.
PEOPLE WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS CAN’T HOLD DOWN A JOB:
People who are in the midst of recovery can still tolerate the responsibility of having a job. Employers of people with mental illness report that they are equally as productive as other employees, have good attendance, punctuality as well as motivation. When people with mental health conditions receive treatment, it can result in a lower medical cost, increased productivity, and decrease disability costs.
EVERYBODY HAS ACCESS TO THE TREATMENT IF THEY WANT:
Although people with mental illness may desire treatment, there are many barriers – cost, stigma, and a lack of cultural competency – that are stopping them from actually receiving the treatment that they deserve.
I CAN’T DO ANYTHING FOR A PERSON WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS:
Friends, family, and peers can make a tremendous impact and be a source of good influence. You can reach out to let them know you are available, encourage them to seek mental health services and aid them through that process, treat them with respect just as you would anyone else, and educate yourself and others about the myths and truths about mental health. These efforts will not only help the individual but also lessen the stigma that surrounds mental health.
We share this information with hopes that you can learn something you didn’t know before, or can correct someone when they are misinformed about mental health and illness. This is just one of AYANA’s many efforts to end the stigma of mental health. If you are interested in learning more about our mission, sign up for our pre-launch list, and follow us on our social media – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We would be so excited for you to join our community!