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Mental Health Myths and Facts

Can you tell the difference between a mental health myth and fact? Learn the truth about the most common mental health myths.


Mental Health Problems Affect Everyone


Myth: Mental health problems don't affect me.

Fact: Mental health problems are actually very common. In 2014, about:

•One in five American adults experienced a mental health issue

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

•One in 25 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 41,000 American lives each year, more than double the number of lives lost to homicide.


Myth: Children don't experience mental health problems.

Fact: Even very young children may show early warning signs of mental health concerns. These mental health problems are often clinically diagnosable, and can be a product of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors. Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14 years old, and three quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24.


Unfortunately, less than 20% of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other developmental needs.


Myth: There is no hope for people with mental health problems. Once a friend or family member develops mental health problems, he or she will never recover.

Fact: Studies show that people with mental health problems get better and many recover completely. Recovery refers to the process in which people are able to live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities. There are more treatments, services, and community support systems than ever before, and they work.


Myth: I can't do anything for a person with a mental health problem.

Fact: Friends and loved ones can make a big difference. Only 44% of adults with diagnosable mental health problems and less than 20% of children and adolescents receive needed treatment. Friends and family can be important influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need by:

•Reaching out and letting them know you are available to help

•Learning and sharing the facts about mental health, especially if you hear something that isn't true

•Helping them access mental health services

•Treating them with respect, just as you would anyone else

•Refusing to define them by their diagnosis or using labels such as "crazy"


Frequently Asked Questions

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