Thursday, October 06, 2011

Myths and Facts About Mental Illness

This is Mental Illness Awareness Week, a time when excellent organizations like NAMI have events around the country to combat stigma and enlighten the populace to the realities of our lives.

One simple thing you can do is use the Bipolar Awareness Day email that was created by the Say it Forward Campaign. Bipolar Awareness Day is October 6th. If you go to their website, Say it Forward will send the below text to every email address you type in. In other words, it's an easy way to educte your friends and families. You can find some more Myths and Facts, especially geared toward young people, here.

Please add some of this information to your blogs, your Facebook pages, your Twitter accounts, and any other places you can think of where there are people who might read it. I am having a really hard time with symptoms right now myself, but it was more important to post about this awareness week, than to talk about myself again. We need to spread the facts!


Myth #1: Psychiatric disorders are not true medical illnesses like heart disease and diabetes. People who have a mental illness are just "crazy."

Fact: Brain disorders, like heart disease and diabetes, are legitimate medical illnesses. Research shows there are genetic and biological causes for psychiatric disorders, and they can be treated effectively.

Myth #2: People with a severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, are usually dangerous and violent.

Fact: Statistics show that those who suffer from mental illness are much more likely to be the victim of a crime than the perpetrator.

Myth #3: If you have a mental illness, you can "will" it away. Being treated for a psychiatric disorder means an individual has in some way "failed" or is weak.

Fact: A serious mental illness cannot be willed away. Ignoring the problem does not make it go away, either. It takes courage to seek professional help.

Myth #4: Mental illnesses do not affect children or adolescents. Any problems they have are just a part of growing up.

Fact: Children and adolescents can develop severe mental illnesses. In the United States, one in ten children and adolescents has a mental disorder severe enough to cause impairment. However, only about 20 percent of these children receive needed treatment.

Myth #5: People who complete suicide are weak or flawed.

Fact: Suicide can be the unfortunate result of failing to get treatment and support. Having a mental illness is painful, and society does not do enough to support and understand these individuals. Stigma is a huge barrier to receiving the treatment that is necessary to live a fulfilling life with a mental illness.

Myth #6: I don't know anyone who has a mental illness.

Fact: According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in every 4 people, or 25% per cent of individuals, develops one or more mental disorders at some stage in life. Globally, it is estimated that 450 million people suffer from mental disorders.*


  1. Excellent info and organisation. Thanks Jen xx

  2. Or a suicide is just a selfish act.

    My stepfather said that in front of me once. Thanks for the support, Dad.

    You're right. Everyone of those is true.

  3. Myth 4 I've heard a scary number of times. ~Mary


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