Mental Health myths/facts
Around 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem this year yet the shame and silence can be as bad as the mental health problem itself. Your attitude to mental health could change someone’s life.
Mental health is a complex issue and its easy to become confused and unclear about its impact. What is for sure is that everyone's mental health is important and we want to help anyone who is feeling stigmatised because of poor mental health.
Myth: What is so often misunderstood about mental health problems is that they don’t define a person or their potential in life. Recovery is possible with the right support and people can and do go on to lead rewarding and fulfilling lives.
Fact: Research has shown that 60-70% of people with common mental disorders are in work (Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report, Dame Sally Davies, 2014). The chances are, you probably work with someone with a mental health problem.
“18 years ago, someone sent a letter to a "data bank" stating I had PTSD. This "data bank" then mailed this to 8 different places. Two of the places were medical boards. Both medical boards prosecuted me like I was a criminal. After a brief trial, I was "suspended" by both medical boards and put out of business. I have not been able to get a job since then.”
Lawrence Agee, 61 - Medical Doctor
“My good friend and unofficial business partner ended our relationship 5 years ago today because my depression made me emotionally unavailable to her when she wanted me to be.”
Jo Qatana - Artist & Dancer
Myth: Mental health problems are common and it’s likely you will know someone who has experienced them. 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime.
Myth: Mental health problems are not a sign of weakness just a broken leg is not. They are a common part of human experience and can happen to anyone from any walk of life. Many high profile, successful and inspirational people have experienced mental ill health and many people gain strength from the experience.
Fact: The misconceptions around mental health problems are fed by stereotypes associated with violence, criminality and danger which are equally endorsed by the media. The truth is that most people who are are mentally ill are not violent. They are more likely to be a victim of violence and also more likely to harm themselves than harm others.
Myth: Just because you can’t see a mental illness doesn’t mean it’s any less painful or debilitating than a broken arm. A mental health problem can feel just as bad or worse than any other illness and needs just as much support.
“Mental Health Stigma has affected my life by not being able to speak up for the help I need as I was scared I was going to get judged. I was scared to ask for advice on my feelings as I didn’t want to be labelled as an “weirdo” that’s why I have become a MH blogger to speak out”
Shannon Dianna, 20 - Mental Health Advocate and Blogger
“Stigma has affected me positively as I now want to DO something about it! I actively campaign/ share awareness to get to a place where mental health isn’t used as an insult. We need to educate from preschool to role model understanding and kindness Mental Health”
Annie Belasco, 25 - Writer, Speaker & Army wife.
“Mental Health stigma has caused a university I made a complaint to while I was very distressed to pass me from pillar to post, allowing me to become more and more worked up and probably dealing with my frustrations by making a fool of me. This has rubber stamped the negative messages of the bullying I was complaining about in the first place. It held back my recovery and increased the risk. I am a very useful and insightful woman, but I have been hurt and reduced by the way that people with relative power can stonewall others at times when they are vulnerable. People can at times use your mental health as a get out clause for being called to account. End the stigma, give me a voice.”
Paula Matthews - Artist and Social Worker