Understanding what mental illness is – and what it isn’t – is the first step in being able to help someone in need.
Here are some mental health facts to help lessen the stigma:
Mental illness is a disorder of the brain – and every year one in four adults will experience some form of mental illness; including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and PTSD.
Like most diseases, there are many causes of mental illness– from genetics to other biological, environmental and cultural factors. And like most diseases, mental illnesses are no one’s fault.
Most importantly, mental illnesses are treatable – allowing those who live with them the opportunity to lead full and productive lives.
FACT VS. FICTION
FICTION: People living with a mental illness are often violent.
FACT: Actually, the vast majority of people living with mental health conditions are no more violent than anyone else. People with mental illness are much more likely to be the victims of crime.
FICTION: Mental illness is a sign of weakness.
FACT: A mental illness is not caused by personal weakness — nor can it be cured by positive thinking or willpower — proper treatment is needed.
FICTION: Only military personnel who have been in combat can be diagnosed with PTSD.
FACT: While PTSD is prevalent in men and women who have seen combat, experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event can trigger PTSD, including violent personal assaults such as rape or robbery, natural or human-caused disasters, or accidents.
FICTION: People with a mental illness will never get better.
FACT: For some people, a mental illness may be a lifelong condition, like diabetes. But as with diabetes, proper treatment enables many people with a mental illness to lead fulfilling and productive lives.
FICTION: Children aren’t diagnosed with mental illness.
FACT: Millions of children are affected by depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. As a matter of fact, 1 in 10 children live with a diagnosable mental illness. Getting treatment is essential.
FICTION: “Mental illness can’t affect me.”
FACT: Mental illness can affect anyone. While some illnesses have a genetic risk, mental illness can affect people of all ages, races and income levels, whether or not there is a family history.