World Mental Health Day is observed on Oct. 10 annually to raise awareness about mental health issues and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), "Mental, neurological, and substance use disorders make up 10% of the global burden of disease and 30% of the non-fatal disease burden." However, it still remains one of the most neglected areas of public health, where one person dies every 40 seconds by suicide. 

Social stigma, discrimination and human rights abuses of people with mental health conditions further precipitate the situation of mental health disorders. So, on World Mental Health Day, here are some myths and facts that you must know about mental issues.

1)  Myth: Children don't experience mental health problems

Fact: Studies show that even young children show early warning signs of mental health concerns. These 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 the age of 24. However, less than 20% of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need.

2)  Myth: Mental health problems are uncommon

Fact: According to the WHO, one in four people in the world get affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Studies say mental health disorders are among the leading causes of ill health and disability worldwide.

One of the most common mental health disorders is depression that affected more than 264 million people globally in 2017. Generalized anxiety disorder is another common mental disorder, affecting an estimated 6.8 million adults in the U.S.

3)  Myth: People with friends don't need a therapist

Fact: There is a large difference between structured talking therapies and speaking with friends. While both can help in their own way, a trained therapist can address issues constructively. 

Also, not everyone can open up entirely in front of their nearest and dearest ones. Therapy is confidential, objective and entirely focused on the individual.

4)  Myth: People with mental health issues are violent

Fact: Most people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Studies show that only 3%–5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population. Many people with mental health problems are highly active and productive members of our communities.

5) Myth: Those with mental health problems are just lazy

Fact: Mental health problems have nothing to do with being lazy or weak and many people just need help to get better. Various factors contribute to mental health problems, including genetics, physical illness, injury, life experiences and family history.

Mental Health Mental Health Representational Image Photo: Pixabay/Wokandapix