Mental Health 101 – Reject Myths & Get the Facts

Mental health affects how we think, feel and act — no matter our age. It helps us determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Good mental health is important at every stage of life, so be aware of your emotional, social, and mental well-being.

Mental health issues are common, but help is available and can significantly improve your quality of life. One of the greatest barriers to treatment is the stigma that often surrounds mental health. Don’t let the following myths hold you back:

Myth: I don’t know anyone who is affected by mental health problems.

Actually, you probably do. In a given year, 43.8 million adults experience mental illness, according to the NationalAlliance for Mental Illness. One in five American's experience a mental health issue, and one in 25 are affected by a serious mental illness. One in 10 experience clinical depression.

Myth: People with mental health problems can snap out of it if they really try.

Mental health problems are not caused by being lazy or weak and many people need assistance 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

Myth: Feeling down is just part of aging.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA)advises that depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health issues are not just another part of aging. These are disorders that require treatment. Getting that treatment can make a tremendous difference in how you feel.

According to NCOA’sCenter for Healthy Aging, the most common conditions include anxiety, severe cognitive impairment, and mood disorders(such as depression or bipolar disorder).

How do I know if I need help?

Anytime you have a concern about your health, it’s wise to consult your physician. However, if you are experiencing one of the following symptoms, it’s especially important to reach out:

  • Not taking as much care with one’s dress, home or yard
  • Showing signs of confusion or disorientation and difficulty with concentration or decision-making
  • Decrease or increase in appetite
  • A change in mood lasting longer than two weeks.
  • Feeling worthless, guilty or helpless; thoughts of suicide
  • Memory loss, especially recent or short-term memory problems
  • Physical problems that can’t otherwise be explained such as aches or constipation
  • Loss of interest in things that used to be enjoyable
  • Social withdrawal
  • Difficulty handling finances or working with numbers
  • Unexplained fatigue, energy loss or sleep changes

Mental health issues are often highly treatable. Reach out for the help you need. Start with your primary care physician. Don’t let myths hold you back. Help is waiting.

Posted on 

August 28, 2020

by Montereau

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