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Mental Health Facts and not Myths
Mental health problems have increased to epidemic proportions: Think about it; mental health problems affect everyone.
Myth: Mental health problems don’t affect me.
Fact: In 2011, about:
One in five American adults experienced a mental health issue
One in 10 young people experienced a period of major depression
One in 20 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It accounts for the loss of more than 38,000 American lives each year, more than double the number of lives lost to homicide.
Myth: Children don’t experience mental health problems.
Fact: Even very young children may show early warning signs of mental health concerns. These mental health problems are often clinically diagnoseable, and can be a product of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors.
Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14 years old, and three quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24.
Unfortunately, less than 20% of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other developmental needs.
Fact: The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3%-5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population. You probably know someone with a mental health problem and don’t even realize it, because many people with mental health problems are highly active and productive members of our communities.
Fact: People with mental health problems are just as productive as other employees. Employers who hire people with mental health problems report good attendance and punctuality as well as motivation, good work, and job tenure on par with or greater than other employees.
When employees with mental health problems receive effective treatment, it can result in:
Lower total medical costs
Decreased disability costs
Fact: Mental health problems have nothing to do with being lazy or weak and many people need help to get better. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:
Biological factors, such as genes, physical illness, injury, or brain chemistry
Life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse
Family history of mental health problems
People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.
Fact: Studies show that people with mental health problems get better and many recover completely. Recovery refers to the process in which people are able to live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities. There are more treatments, services, and community support systems than ever before, and they work.
Fact: Treatment for mental health problems varies depending on the individual and could include medication, therapy, or both. Many individuals work with a support system during the healing and recovery process.
Fact: Friends and loved ones can make a big difference. Only 38% of adults with diagnosable mental health problems and less than 20% of children and adolescents receive needed treatment. Friends and family can be important influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need by:
Reaching out and letting them know you are available to help
Learning and sharing the facts about mental health, especially if you hear something that isn’t true
Treating them with respect, just as you would anyone else
Refusing to define them by their diagnosis or using labels such as “crazy”
Fact: Prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders focuses on addressing known risk factors such as exposure to trauma that can affect the chances that children, youth, and young adults will develop mental health problems. Promoting the social-emotional well-being of children and youth leads to:
Higher overall productivity
Better educational outcomes
Lower crime rates
Lower health care costs
Improved quality of life
Improved family life