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10 Myths And Facts About Mental Health

By Neha Ghosh

What is mental health? It refers to the cognitive, behavioural, and emotional state of well-being. The term mental health is often described as an absence of a mental disorder. Mental health can affect daily life, physical health, and even relationships. This article will tell you the myths and facts about mental health.

What Happens In The Brain When You Are Stressed?

Chronic stress releases stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline, which lead to high blood pressure, increase in adipose fat storage in the body, and affects the memory centre of the brain.

The presence of cortisol can result in excess glutamate that creates high levels of free radicals, which can kill brain cells and increase the risk of memory loss and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease.

Serotonin and dopamine are happy hormones that drop when you are chronically stressed.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) stresses that mental health is not just the absence of mental disorder. The common types of mental illness are mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia disorders.

Importance Of Mental Health

Mental health strengthens and supports the ability to handle the ups and downs of life, maintain physical health and well-being, make good life choices, and have healthy relationships.

Let us take a look at the myths and facts about mental health

1. Myth: Children Don't Experience Mental Health Problems

Fact: Young children may show early warning signs of mental health. These mental health problems are often diagnosed and can be the reason for biological, psychological, and social factors. Before a person is 14 years of age, the first signs of health disorders start showing. And before the age of 24, three-quarters of mental health disorders begin.

2. Myth: People Become Violent And Unpredictable

Fact: Most people with a mental disorder are not violent and only 3 per cent to 5 per cent become violent when they have a serious mental illness. It is also a fact that many people with mental illnesses are 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime. Also, many people with mental health problems are highly active and you won't even realize that he or she has a mental disorder.

3. Myth: People With Mental Illness Can't Handle The Stress Of A Job

Fact: It is true that people with mental disorders are just as productive as other employees. These people have good attendance and punctuality, motivation at work and job tenure at par with or greater than other employees.

4. Myth: Personality Weakness Can Cause Mental Health Problems

Fact: Do you know that mental health problems have got nothing to do with being weak or lazy? Factors that contribute to mental health problems are trauma, history of abuse, family history of mental health problems, and biological factors.

5. Myth: People Don't Recover From Mental Health Problems

Fact: Studies have shown that people with mental disorders get better and may recover completely. Recovery means the process in which people are able to live, work, learn, and participate in different activities. There are other treatment options and community support systems available too.

6. Myth: Preventing Mental Illness Is Impossible

Fact: Prevention of mental, behavioural, and emotional disorders focuses on addressing the risk factors such as the trauma of young children and young adults. You can prevent mental illness by improving the quality of life, higher overall productivity, better education, lower crime rates, and improved family life.

Other Facts About Mental Health According To WHO

1. About 800,000 people commit suicide every year - Over 800,000 people die due to suicide every year and it is the second leading cause of death. 75 per cent of suicides happen in low and middle-income countries. 135,000, that is, about 17 per cent of residents of India commit suicide. Southern and eastern states of India have the higher suicide rates.

2. Mental illness can cause other diseases - Mental disorders increase the risk of getting various diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and HIV.

3. Stigma and discrimination from the society stop people from seeking mental health care - The stigma attached to mental health is widespread. People still believe that there is no treatment for mentally ill patients or they are not intelligent, difficult to maintain or are incapable of making decisions.

4. Barriers to increasing mental health services availability - The barriers include lack of integration within primary care, inadequate human resources for mental health, and lack of public mental health leadership in the organization of mental health services.

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