Misconception #1: People with mental illness should be feared because they are prone to violence
Actually people suffering from mental illness are more likely to be the victims of violence than to be its perpetrators. “People with severe mental illnesses are twice as likely to get attacked, raped, or mugged than the general population” (Mental Health Reporting, 2016). The news and entertainment television generally depict people with mental illnesses in a negative light and frightening disposition. It wasn’t until I was given the opportunity to volunteer at a psychiatric hospital, that I learned how wrong the media can be. These people are often coping with previous traumatic experiences and should be seen for their true self, not their diagnosis.
Misconception #2: People can never recover from their mental health problems
There are many instances and studies indicating that people fully recover and or learn how to properly manage their mental health issues. Some problems may be minor while others can be reoccurring. There are a variety of therapeutic techniques and research that can help an individual deal with their mental health. What works for one person may not apply to another so it is important to learn about yourself and find what fits best for you!
Misconception #3: Children don’t experience mental health problems
“An estimated 15 million of our nation’s young people can currently be diagnosed with a mental health disorder” (APA, 2016). These mental health disorders come in many different shapes and severities. It is important to look out for seemingly minor anxiety about an upcoming test as well as major issues related to conduct and depression. Everyone experiences life’s stressors, including children; it is only vital that they have the support and coping skills to handle what comes their way.
Misconception #4: Mental Health problems are uncommon and abnormal
“One out of five Americans will have a diagnosable mental disorder within their lifetime” (National Alliance on Mental Illness). 43.8 million people are affected and over half those people are not getting the proper treatment! It is normal to feel sad, stressed, and overwhelmed at times, but when it starts impairing your relationships and daily functioning it is okay to get extra help, you are not alone.
American Psychological Association. Children’s Mental Health. (2016) Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pi/families/children-mental-health.aspx
Mental Health Reporting. (2016) Facts about Mental Illness and Violence. Retrieved from http://depts.washington.edu/mhreport/facts_violence.php
National Institute of Mental Health. (2016) Mental Health by the Numbers. Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers