Unfortunately, there are many myths and misconceptions about the nature of mental health. Not only are these myths damaging to the individuals who suffer from mental illness, but they can also get in the way of your own mental health. Here are some of the most common myths about mental health and the truth about mental health conditions.
Mental health problems are uncommon
It is common to think that mental illness is something that could never happen to you or your family. But actually, mental health problems are very common, with about 1 in 5 American adults experiencing a mental health issue in 2014 alone. Additionally, 1 in 10 young adults reported experiencing a period of major depression, and 1 in 25 Americans are currently living with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.
Mental health problems are purely genetic
While biology and inherited genes do play a role in your risk factors for developing mental health conditions, your environmental factors and relationships are what trigger disorders like depression to develop.
Mental health problems do not occur in children
Even children at a very young age can show early warning signs of mental health conditions. These types of problems are usually the product of biological, psychological, and social factors and can usually be clinically diagnosed at a young age as well. In fact, half of all mental health disorders start showing signs before you are 14 years old, and three quarters of all mental health disorders begin before the age of 24. Because of the stigma associated with mental health conditions, less than 20% of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems actually receive the treatment they need.
People with mental health problems are violent, unpredictable, and cannot hold down a job
Thanks to the media, most people picture a person with mental illness as someone who is crazy and aggressive and unable to function normally in society. However, this is not the case. Most people who suffer from mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than the rest of the general population. In fact, only 3% to 5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals who are living with a mental illness. Most people with mental health problems, such as depression, go completely unnoticed in society since treatment allows them to be highly active and productive members of their communities.
It is impossible to prevent mental illnesses from developing
There are plenty of things you can do to reduce your risk for developing a mental illness if you are at an increased risk. Preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders focuses mainly on addressing the known risk factors that affect the chances that children, youth, and young adults will develop mental health problems, such as being exposed to trauma. By promoting the social and emotional well-being of children and young adults, not only are the risks for mental illness reduced, but there is also an increased in the overall productivity of the individuals, better educational outcomes, lower crime rates, improved quality of life, and increased lifespan.
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