Myth: People who experience mental illnesses are weak and can’t handle stress.

  

Fact: Stress impacts well-being & this is true for everyone. People who experience mental illnesses may actually be better at managing stress than people who haven’t experienced mental illnesses. Many people who experience mental illnesses learn skills like stress management and problem-solving so they can take care of stress before it affects their well-being. Taking care of ourselves and asking for help when we need it are signs of strength, not weakness.

Myth: Mental illnesses aren’t real illnesses.

  

Fact: Some of the words  used to describe mental illnesses have changed greatly over time. What hasn’t changed over time is the fact that mental illnesses are not the regular ups and downs that we may  go through from time to time. Mental illnesses can create distress that do not go away on their own, and are real health concerns with effective treatments. 

Myth: Mental illnesses will never affect me.

  

Fact: Over time all of us will somehow be affected by mental illnesses. Researchers have estimate that as many as one in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem or illness in any given year. You may not experience a mental illness yourself, but it’s very likely that a family member, friend, or co-worker will experience challenges.

Myth: Mental illnesses are just an excuse for poor behavior.

  

Fact: It is true that some people who experience mental illnesses may act in ways that are unexpected or seem strange to others. What we need to remember is that the illness, not the person, is behind these behaviors. No one chooses to experience a mental illness. Someone  who experiences a change in their behavior due to a mental illness may feel extremely embarrassed or ashamed around others. It is also true that someone with a history of a mental illness will be like anyone else. They may make poor choices or do something unexpected for reasons unrelated to symptoms of their illness.

Myth: People who experience mental illnesses can’t work.

  

Fact: Workplaces are filled with people who have experienced mental illnesses. Having a mental illness does not mean that someone is no longer capable of working. Some even benefit from changes at work to support their goals. Most who experience serious mental illnesses want to work yet may face systemic barriers to finding & keeping meaningful employment.

Myth: Everyone gets depressed as they grow older. It’s just part of the aging process.

  

Fact: Depression is never an inevitable part of aging. Older adults may have a greater risk of depression as they experience so many changes in roles & social networks. When an older adult experiences depression they need the same support as anyone else.

Myth: Kids can not have a mental illness like depression. Those would be adult problems.

  

Fact: Children can also experience mental illnesses. Many mental illnesses first appear when a person is young. Mental illnesses may look different in children than in adults. Mental Illnesses in children are a real concern & can impact the way young people learn & build skills. These skills can lead to challenges in their future. Unfortunately, many children don’t receive the help they need.

Myth: People don’t recover from mental illnesses.

  

Fact: Many people can & do recover from mental illnesses. There are many different kinds of treatments, services, and supports that can help now a days. No one should expect to feel unwell forever. People who experience mental illnesses can & do lead productive & engaged lives. These people work, volunteer, or contribute their unique skills & abilities to their communities. When people experience mental illnesses that last for a long time they  learn how to manage their symptoms so they can get back to their goals. When someone continues to experience many challenges  different approaches or supports may be needed.

Myth: People with mental illnesses are violent and dangerous.

  

Fact: Some try to predict violence so they know what to avoid. The causes of violence are always very complicated. Mental illnesses are not a good predictor of violence. When we look at mental illnesses on their own people who experience a mental illness are no more violent than people without a mental illness. Excluding different peoples from communities is linked to violence. Those with mental illnesses are often among those who are excluded from communities. Those who experience mental illnesses are much more likely to be victims of violence than to be violent.

Myth: Bad parenting causes mental illnesses.

  

Fact: No one factor can causes mental illnesses. Mental illnesses are complicated conditions that arise from a combination of genetics, biological, environmental, and life experiences. Family members and loved ones do have a big role in support & recovery.

Myth: Some managing their mental illness cannot tolerate the stress of holding down a job.

  

Fact: People with mental health problems are just as productive as other employees. Employers who hire people with mental health problems report good attendance & punctuality. Employees also report motivation, good work, & length of time they are been at their present job as being the same or greater than other employees.

When employees with mental health problems receive effective treatment, it can result in:

Lower total medical costs

Increased productivity

Lower absenteeism

Decreased disability costs

Myth: Personality weakness cause mental health problems-Those with mental illness can snap out of it

  

Fact: Mental health problems have nothing to do with being lazy or weak & 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 & many recover completely.

Myth: No hope for those with mental illness. Once mental illness develops, one will never recover

  

Fact: Studies show that people with mental health problems get better & many do recover completely. Recovery refers to the process in which people are able to live, work, learn, & participate fully in their communities. There are more treatments, services, and community support systems than ever before, & they do work.

Myth: Therapy and self-help are a waste of time. Why bother when you can just take a pill?

  

Fact: Treatment for mental health problems varies depending on the individual & can yet not always include medication, therapy, or both. Many individuals work with a support system during the healing & recovery process.

Myth: I can't do anything for a person with a mental health problem.

  

Fact: Friends & loved ones can make a big difference. Only 44% of adults with mental health problems & less than 20% of children & adolescents receive needed treatment. Friends and family can be important influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need by:

Reaching out & letting them know you are available to help

Helping them access mental health services

Learning & 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"

Myth: Prevention doesn't work. It is impossible to prevent mental illnesses.

  

Fact: Prevention of mental, emotional, & 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

Stronger economies

Lower health care costs

Improved quality of life

Increased lifespan

Improved family life

Myth: People are “faking it” or doing it for attention.

  

Fact: No one would choose to have a mental illness just as no one would choose to have a physical illness. The causes for mental health conditions are intensively studied & they are real. For anyone living with a mental health condition their specific symptoms may not always be visible to an untrained observer. It can be challenging to relate to what people with mental health conditions are going through yet that doesn’t mean that their condition isn’t real.

Myth: People with mental illnesses should be kept in institutions.

  

Fact: Most people living with mental illness do not need long-term hospitalization. Like other health concerns there are periods of time where a person is particularly unwell & may need a short hospital stay. Very few stay longer than a week or two. Many people with mental health conditions live productive, happy & healthy lives.

Myth: Different races are more prone to mental illness.

  

Fact: All races & ethnicity's are affected by the same rate of mental illness. There is no single group of people more likely than others to have a mental health condition. Some people have cultural influences that may affect how they interpret symptoms of a mental health condition that could prevent them from getting help. Awareness of mental illness in varying minority groups is important to highlight as these groups often times get overlooked in the potential differences of outcomes in mental illnesses.

Myth: Mental Health Concerns are Uncommon!

  

Fact: Mental illness is more prevalent than we realize.One in every five will experience mental health concerns during their lifetime. One in every twenty-five will experience a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. Mental health concerns can affect anyone, including all ages, races, income levels and religions. Mental health concerns are medical, and can cause changes in how we think & feel.

Myth: You don’t need therapy. Just take a pill.

  

Fact: Each individual has different treatment needs. There is no one, right way, to recovery. While medication can help, it may not be the only treatment a person needs to feel their absolute best. Often a combination of therapy & medication provides the best outcomes. Talk to a mental health professional to help determine the best treatment plan.

Myth: Everyone gets depressed as they grow older. It’s just part of the aging process.

 Fact: Depression is never an inevitable part of aging. Older adults may have a greater risk of depression because they experience so many changes in roles & social networks. If an older adult experiences depression, they need the same support as anyone else 

Myth: If you feel better, you are cured.

  

Fact: For some after getting on the proper treatment plan the treatment may have helped you to feel much better. Many symptoms may go away yet this does not mean you’re “cured.” The relief you feel is part of your treatment plan. Sometimes in order to sustain your mental health you may need to continue treatment even after you feel better. Whether you are taking medication short-term or long-term, it is important to not stop taking medication, or change your treatment plan without first talking about it with your health provider.

Symptoms of a mental health condition can come & go. There are often environmental factors that can influence a way person feels. Additionally there may also be times when a person may exhibit symptoms more strongly.

Myth: You’re just sad, not depressed.

  

Fact: Depression is not something that can be willed away. Depression often comes with the misconception that a person can just “cheer up” or “shake it off.” It is not just “the blues”. Depression is a serious medical condition that affects the biological functioning of our bodies. There are treatments like cognitive therapy or medication that can help address the symptoms of depression.

Myth: A person can treat themselves with positive thought & prayer.

  

Fact: Positive thought, religion, & spirituality can all be powerful tools in recovery yet they should never be the only form of treatment. Most effective treatment someone can receive is one that is planned by their licensed health provider & by themselves. If & when someone decides to incorporate his or her religion & spirituality with their treatment plan is totally up to them.