Facts and Myths

Mental health is a complex issue. It is easy to become confused and unclear about its impact.

What is for certain is that everyone's mental health is important. We want to help anyone who is feeling stigmatised.

Only certain people have mental ill health.

Myth: We all have mental health that can move up and down, just like our physical health. 

Physical health problems are worse than mental health problems.

Myth: Just because you can’t see a mental illness doesn’t mean it’s any less painful or debilitating than a broken arm. A mental health problem can feel just as bad as, or worse than, any other illness and requires just as much support.

You can’t recover from a mental illness.

Myth: What is so often misunderstood about mental health problems is that they don’t define a person or their potential in life. Recovery is possible with the right support and people can, and do, go on to lead rewarding, fulfilling lives.

People with mental illness hold down successful jobs.

Fact: Research has shown that 60-70% of people with common mental disorders are in work (Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report, Dame Sally Davies, 2014). The chances are, you probably work with someone with a mental health problem.

Mental health problems are rare.

Myth: Mental health problems are common and it’s likely you will know someone who has experienced them. One in five people will experience a mental health problem in their lifetime.

Mental health problems are a sign of weakness.

Myth: Suffering a physical injury does not make a person weak; nor does living with a mental health problem. They are a common part of the human experience and can happen to anyone, from any walk of life. Many high-profile, successful and inspirational people have experienced mental ill health and many gain strength from the experience.

People with mental health problems are more likely to be a victim of violence, rather than a perpetrator.

Fact: The misconceptions around mental ill health are fed by stereotypes associated with criminality and dangerous behaviour. These are often endorsed by the media. The truth is that most people who are are mentally ill are not violent. They are more likely to be victims of violence and are also more likely to harm themselves than others.