Mental Health Awareness Day: Myths and facts about mental health
Today marks Mental Health Awareness month, aimed at reducing the increasing depression rate in South Africa.
Even though there has been awareness about mental health, there is till a few myths around it.
Here are some myths and fact that may save a life.
Myth: Mental illness is incurable and lifelong.
Fact: With the right kind of help, treated appropriately and early, most people recover fully and have no further episodes of illness. For others, mental illness may recur throughout their lives and require ongoing treatment. This is the same as many physical illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease. Like these other long-term health conditions, mental illness can be managed so that individuals live life to the fullest.
Although some people become disabled as a result of ongoing mental illness, many who experience even very major episodes of illness live full and productive lives.
Myth: People with a mental illness are dangerous.
Fact: This false perception underlies some of the most damaging stereotypes for people with mental illness. People with a mental illness are seldom dangerous. Even people with the most severe mental illness, whose symptoms may cause them to act in bizarre or unusual ways, are rarely dangerous.
Myth: Personality weakness or character flaws cause mental health problems. People with mental health problems can snap out of it if they try hard enough.
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