MYTH: Mental health problems don't affect me.

FACT

Mental health problems are actually very common.

In 2014, about:

– One in five American adults experienced a mental health issue
– One in 10 young people experienced a period of major depression
– One in 25 Americans 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.

MYTH: Children don't experience mental health problems.

FACT

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

Myth: People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.

FACT

The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness 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. 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.

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

FACT

Friends and loved ones can make a big difference. Only 44% of adults with diagnosable mental health problems and less than 20% of children and adolescents receive needed treatment. Friends and family can 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 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”