Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

  • Now, It is time, people understand what being mentally ill, really means.
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Assumption 1:

People with Mental Illness are dangerous , violent and unpredictable:

Reality:

The majority of people with mental health problems 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.

Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Assumption 2:

Mental health problems don’t affect me.

Reality:

Mental health related problems are actually very common.

Annually, about:

One in 10 young people, experienced a period of major depression.

One in 25 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 41,000 American lives each year, more than double the number of lives lost to homicide.

Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Assumption 3:

Most Homeless People Are Mentally ill.

Reality:

Most Homeless People Are not Mentally ill.

  • It is wrong to assume, most homeless people are mentally ill or that they became homeless, because of mental illness.
  • Only 30–35% of homeless people suffer from severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder, bipolar disorder and major depression.
  • We all see the occasional mentally ill homeless person shouting obscenities or nonsense, clearly in extreme need of psychiatric help.
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Assumption 4:

Mental Illness and Physical Illness are different.

Reality:

Mental illness can have medical symptoms and medical illness can have mental symptoms.

  • The mind and body are intertwined and tend to push and pull on each other rather than acting independently. People who don’t understand mental illness usually say that , the symptoms are “not real” or “in your head. In reality , the mind affects the body and body affects the mind. They are complimentary to each other.
  • For example, mothers who suffer from postpartum depression, people make them feel something is “wrong with them” rather than accepting it as an illness to be treated.
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Assumption 5:

People with Mental Illness always need Medications.

Reality:

  • Medicines are not always necessary.
  • Psychotropic medications such as antidepressants are a popular way to treat mental illness, those not familiar with it, assume drugs are necessary and that mentally ill people take them their entire lives. It is not true.
  • People have used psychotherapy alone to treat mental illness or a combination of therapy and medication. In many cases, patients prefer therapy only, not any medicines at all, like in case of mild depression.
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Assumption 6:

Children don’t experience mental health problems.

Reality:

Even very young children may show early warning signs of mental health problems.

  • Mental health problems are often clinically diagnosable, 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.

Assumption 7:

People with mental health problems, even those who are managing their mental illness, cannot tolerate the stress of holding down a job.

Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Reality

People with mental health problems are just as productive as other employees.

  • When employees with mental health problems receive effective treatment, it can result in:
  1. Increased productivity
  2. Lower absenteeism
  3. Decreased disability costs
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Assumption 8:

Personality weakness or character flaws cause mental health problems. People with mental health problems may be in trouble, it if they try hard enough.

Reality:

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:

  • Life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Assumption 9:

White People Suffer More from Mental Illness.

Realty:

Minorities Suffer More from Mental Illness.

  • Due to economic and cultural disadvantages, that cause increased stress, minorities are more vulnerable to mental illnesses such as depression.
  • White people receive more treatment for mental illness because they tend to come from privilege that makes them more open to and able to access it. This breeds the assumption they must be more predisposed to mental illness. They do not, however, suffer from it the most.
  • Unfortunately, cultural stigma regarding counseling and medication prevents many ethnic minority individuals from seeking mental health treatment.
  • As per American Psychological Association, African Americans are most at risk and have limited access to mental health care.
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Assumption 10:

There is no hope for people with mental health problems. Once a friend or family member develops mental health problems, he or she will never recover.

Reality:

Studies show that people with mental health problems get better and many recover completely.

  • 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.
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Assuptions 11:

I can not do anything for a person, with a mental health problem.

Reality:

Friends and loved ones can make a big difference and 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.
  • Helping them to access mental health services.
  • 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”
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Assumption 12:

All mentally ill people keep it to themselves.

Reality:

Stars and Everyday People Speak Openly About It.

  • This assumption is another result of the popular depiction of mentally ill people as disturbed, reclusive and putting on a front to appear “normal.”
  • Many sufferers don’t mention their illness because they succumb to the stigma or worry it will get them fired.
  • There are, however, public or professional environments that welcome people to be open about their struggles with mental illness, those who speak about it are rare, but do exist.
  • There are also celebrities with mental health initiatives such as Dipika Padukon. She has spoken publicly about the challenges of dealing with depression.
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Assumption 13:

Patients with mental illnesses are fundamentally different people.

Realty:

Absolutely wrong, They Are usually not so different.

  • According to doctors, they have patients, who felt or believed other people felt, they were a fundamentally different type of human, as if having mental illness meant, they were different from birth.
  • The media and film industry exacerbates this feeling of otherness by using extreme cases to portray the mentally ill as people who think and operate differently than others (think “A Beautiful Mind”).
  • It is possible for someone to become mentally ill and then treat that illness.
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Assumption 14:

Mental Illness defines the sufferer.

Reality:

Not at all. It’s a small part of who, they Are. It is just an illness, should be treated not more than that.

  • Because mental illness directly influences behavior more than medical illnesses, people sometimes see it as a defining trait.
  • Some experts highlighted a linguistic tendency for people to more commonly use “he is” language for mental illness rather than “he has” language.
  • Now consider the opposite: Wouldn’t it be weird if you said “he is cardiac disease” instead of “he has cardiac disease”?
  • With the vast majority of people who struggle with mental illness, you won’t know they have that burden unless they tell you.
  • And if they do tell you, know it shouldn’t overshadow everything else you know about them.
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Assumption 15:

People with mental illness are at fault because they don’t have enough will power to change.

Reality:

People are usually not at fault.

As per mental health expert, people who believe those who struggle with depression can will away their symptoms, but are too lazy and unmotivated to do so.

  • People sometimes exacerbate this by judging the mentally ill as melodramatic or too stubborn to change.
  • Blaming someone for struggling with depression is like telling a woman with breast cancer she is dying because she doesn’t want to live badly enough.
  • Mental or not, illnesses can come without just cause. People can be barreling towards the diagnosis without realizing it. And that’s not the only similarity mental and medical illnesses have.
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Assumption 16:

People Who look or act happy/normal aren’t mentally ill

Reality:

Mentally ill people don’t act or look a certain way.

  • Suppose, family friend who committed suicide despite having a great career and being happily married.
  • People who don’t understand mental illness look and think, “Everything seems to be going great for him. How could he be depressed?” (Think for Sushant)
  • The face of mental illness can be the same as any other. It doesn’t make people look or behave in any way we are guaranteed to notice or perceive as abnormal. Remember people with mental illness are not “crazy.”
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Assumptions 17:

Prevention doesn’t work. It is impossible to prevent mental illnesses.

Reality:

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

· Stronger economies

· Lower health care costs

· Improved quality of life

· Increased lifespan

· Improved family life

Mental Health Assumptions and Reality
Mental Health Assumptions and Reality

Assumption 18:

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

Reality:

  • Treatment for mental health problems varies depending on the individual and could include medication, therapy, or both.
  • Many individuals work with a support group during the healing and recovery process.

What We Can Do?

  • How the situation is currently, you can easily guess that, the top Google image results for “mentally ill people,” include: John Hinckley (the man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan), a homeless man, the Aurora shooter, and pictures of Jack Nicholson in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “The Shining.”
  • These results reflect the reality of how the public views the mentally ill and makes hurtful, stigmatizing assumptions about them.
  • Once people acknowledge these assumptions and learn to stop making them, they can focus on the real signs people need help.
  • If we push hard enough to break the stigma and understand the facts about mental illness, maybe we can push successful mental health warriors like Demi Lovato to the top search result for “mentally ill people.”

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Dr. Niraj Singh Yadav

Dr. Niraj Singh Yadav

I am a Neuro-Psychitrist and blogger used to write health and fitness related articles regularly.