Let’s Talk Mental Health: Mythbusters

Misconceptions regarding mental health abound. Join us for a five-part blog series on mental health for the month of May and learn skills for coping with anxiety, recognizing symptoms of depression, helping a friend with suicidal thoughts, and supporting underserved populations.

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Common Misconceptions

“People with mental health problems can snap out of it if they try hard enough.”

Numerous factors contribute to mental health, including biological factors, life experiences, trauma, and genetics. A multi-pronged approach of counseling and medication management is the best approach to addressing all contributing factors.

“People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.”

While some individuals with a mental health diagnosis may exhibit higher rates of violent behavior, individuals with severe mental illness are 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population.

“Mental illness is permanent.”

Depending upon the diagnosis, a combination of medication management and psychotherapy may yield recovery rates of around 75%. Mental wellness is a life-long pursuit and should never be thought of as accomplished or done.

“Children don’t experience mental health problems.”

“It’s just a phase. They’ll grow out of it.” Unfortunately, these assumptions regarding mental health in children contribute to the fact that only 20% of children and adolescents with a diagnosable mental health problem receive the treatment they need when in fact, half of all mental health disorders first show signs before a person turns 14 years old.

“Addiction is a lack of willpower.”

Research has shown that addiction is a chronic disease affecting the areas of the brain involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and inhibitory control over behavior. Contributory factors include genetic pre-disposition, age of exposure to drugs, and history of abuse or trauma. Successful treatment includes pharmacological and therapeutic interventions.

“If my parent has a mental health problem, I will have it too.”

Some mental illnesses do have a heritable component. However, this is much smaller than the environmental contributors to mental illness, including trauma, abuse, smoking, sleep deprivation, or substance use. Maximize your mental wellness through preventative wellness behaviors.

Mental Health Resources

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Talkspace

GatorCare members ages 18+ are eligible to receive free and confidential online counseling and psychiatry services through Talkspace.

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Talk About It

Sign up to receive informational posts and content about mental health that you can share to your social media platforms during the month of May.

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Wellness Resources

Find a support group, take a class on mental wellness, learn how to meditate, or take a workshop on emotional wellness.

wellness resource

Mythbusters Quiz

Take this 10 question quiz to measure your mental health savviness. See if you can separate the myths from the facts.