« Go Back

Myths and Misconceptions – Clay County Hospital – Flora

People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.

Prevention doesn’t work. It is impossible to prevent mental illnesses.  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 productivityIt’s time to rethink mental health. As a society we’ve not been very good at talking about our emotions, or how we’re feeling, and there is still stigma and discrimination out there about mental health. Until we face the fact that we all have mental health and at times like that of physical health it can be out of balance, we risk losing another person to suicide.

Role of the Community

We, as a community, have a responsibility to identify and intervene when observing or learning of behavior that indicates a person is having difficulty functioning in day-to-day activities, or may be in danger to themselves or others.

Enhanced services and supports in the community are just as important as treatment so that the person can live, work, and integrate in their environment.

If you know of someone who makes comments or demonstrates behaviors that suggest he or she is having thoughts of hurting themselves or others, or is distressed, it is important that the individual gets help.

Persons with mental illness who receive proper treatment and supports will live, work and contribute to their communities. To make this happen, all members of the community have a responsibility to create and promote opportunities where persons with mental illness can feel safe, included and accepted.


Only certain people experience mental health problems. – Anyone can experience a mental health problem at any time.

Only some people have mental health.   Everyone has mental health, just as we all physical health

Mental health problems don’t affect me. –  Mental health problems are actually very common. In 2011, about:

One in five American adults experienced a mental health issue.

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

One in 20 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 38,000 American lives each year, more than double the number of lives lost to homicide.

People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.  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.

Personality weakness or character flaws cause mental health problems. People with mental health problems can snap out of it if they try hard enough.  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:

Biological factors, such as genes, physical illness, injury, or brain chemistry.

Life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse.

Family history of mental health problems

Better educational outcomes

Lower crime rates

Stronger economies

Lower health care costs

Improved quality of life

Increased lifespan

Improved family life.

If I have a mental illness, it is a sign of weakness—it’s my fault.   Mental illness is not anyone’s fault any more than heart disease or diabetes is a person’s fault. According to the Surgeon General’s report: “Mental disorders are health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior (or some combination thereof), associated with distress and/or impaired functioning.”

Mental illnesses are not a condition that people choose to have or not have. Mental illnesses are not results of willful, petulant behavior. No one should have to feel ashamed of this condition any more than any other medical condition.

If I seek help for my mental health problem, others will think I am “crazy”  No one should delay getting treatment for a mental health problem that is not getting better, just as one would not wait to take care of a medical condition that needed treatment. Some people worry that others will avoid them if they seek treatment for their mental illness. Early treatment can produce better results. Seeking appropriate help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Mental health problems are very rare.  1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year.

Depression is not a real medical problem.  Depression is a real and serious condition. It is no different than diabetes or heart disease in its ability to impact someone’s life. It can have both emotional and physical symptoms and make life very difficult for those who have it. The medical community has acknowledged the seriousness of depression and recognizes it as a disease. While no one is completely certain what causes depression, we know that genetic and biological factors play a significant role in development of this disease.

Depression is something that strong people can “snap out of” by thinking positively.  No one chooses to be depressed, just like no one chooses to have any other health condition. People with depression cannot just “snap out of” their depression any more than someone with diabetes can. It is not a sign of weakness or laziness to be depressed; it is a health problem resulting from changes in brain structure or function due to environmental and biological factors.

Suicide Facts

Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15 to 24-year-olds and 2nd for 24 to 35-year-olds.

In the U.S., suicide rates are highest during the spring.

On average, 1 person commits suicide every 13.3 minutes.

Each suicide intimately affects at least 6 other people.

There is 1 suicide for every 25 attempted suicides.

Males make up 79% of all suicides, while women are more prone to having suicidal thoughts.

The bottom line: Males between the ages of 15 and 35 years of age make up the majority of suicidal deaths with most acts completed in the spring. Several men and women are unknowingly suffering from suicide and many of these individuals have contemplated suicide at one time or another.

Depression is among the most treatable of illnesses. Should you know someone who you believe may be depressed encourage him or her to use the services provided in Clay County.

Article From:  Clay County Hospital – Flora