Mental Health Conditions: Fact or Fiction

October 22 2019 By Zarina Bulbulia

Mental disabilities continue to be the most stigmatised of all the health conditions and people who have a mental disorder still face a great deal of discrimination and ridicule in society. Many well-known celebrities such as Dwayne Johnson, Katy Perry and our very own Trevor Noah  have opened up about their personal struggles with mental illness in an effort to create more awareness, however we still have a long way to go towards educating society about this misunderstood topic and promoting acceptance of people with mental health conditions. As October is Mental Health Awareness Month, we think it is the perfect time to explore some of the common myths surrounding mental disabilities and set these straight by providing you with the facts.
Myth: I will never be affected by a mental health condition
Fact: In reality, mental health disorders are much more common than many people realise. Did you know?
·      Approximately 1 in 3 South Africans has a mental illness
·      70% of South Africans who attempted suicide had a mental health disorder
·      Depression is the leading disability worldwide
Myth: Mental illness is not real and the person can just "pull themselves together and get over it" 
Fact: People with mental health conditions are not weak or lazy. Just like a physical illness, mental disorders are diagnosed medical conditions and many people require help to get better. There are many causes of mental illnesses such as genetics, brain chemistry, physical illness, abuse, trauma, etc.
Myth: A person with a mental health condition cannot handle the pressure of working and having a regular job
Fact: People with mental health disorders are actually just as, if not more, hardworking and productive as other employees. When people with mental health conditions receive the correct treatment and support, they perform very well at work with employers reporting high motivation, good attendance, punctuality and increased productivity.

Myth: People with mental health conditions are dangerous and violent
Fact: Due to false stereotypes perpetuated in the media, people with mental illnesses are very often seen as unpredictable, aggressive and capable of committing random acts of violence. People with mental disabilities are rarely dangerous. In fact, a person with a mental disability is much more likely to be a victim, rather than the perpetrator, of a violent crime.
When people with mental health conditions receive effective treatment and support and are treated with dignity and respect, they can prove to be highly productive and valuable members of society.


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