10 Facts on Mental Health

  1. About half of mental disorders begin before the age of 14. Around 20% of the world's children and adolescents are estimated to have mental disorders or problems, with similar types of disorders being reported across cultures.
  2. Myth: People with mental illnesses cannot tolerate the stress of holding down a job. Fact: In essence, all jobs are stressful to some extent. Productivity is maximized when there is a good match between the employee's needs and working conditions, whether or not the individual has mental health needs.
  3. War and other major disaster have a large impact on the mental health and psychosocial well-being. Rates of mental disorder tend to double after emergencies.
  4. Myth: There's no hope for people with mental illnesses. Fact: There are more treatments, strategies, and community supports than ever before, and even more are on the horizon. People with mental illnesses lead active, productive lives.
  5. Human rights violations of psychiatric patients are routinely reported in most countries. These include physical restraint, seclusion and denial of basic needs and privacy.
  6. Myth: Mental illnesses cannot affect me. Fact: Mental illnesses are surprisingly common; they affect almost every family in America. Mental illnesses do not discriminate-they can affect anyone.
  7. Myth: Therapy and self-help are wastes of time. Why bother when you can just take one of those pills you hear about on TV? Fact: Treatment varies depending on the individual. A lot of people work with therapists, counselors, their peers, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, and social workers in their recovery process. They also use self-help strategies and community supports. Often these methods are combined with some of the most advanced medications available.
  8. There is huge inequity in the distribution of skilled human resources for mental health across the world. Shortages of psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychologists and social workers are among the main barriers to providing treatment and care in low- and middle-income countries.
  9. Myth: Mental illnesses are brought on by a weakness of character. Fact: Mental illnesses are a product of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors. Research has shown genetic and biological factors are associated with schizophrenia, depression, and alcoholism. Social influences, such as loss of a loved one or a job, can also contribute to the development of various disorders.
  10. Myth: Children misbehave or fail in school just to get attention. Fact: Behavior problems can be symptoms of emotional, behavioral, or mental disorders, rather than merely attention-seeking devices. These children can succeed in school with appropriate understanding, attention, and mental health services.