Mental Illness, Fact or Fiction


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Not everyone develops a mental illness during their lives, but anyone could. Add in young people, schizophrenia, eating disorders, personality disorders and more and the figure is likely far higher. Anxiety disorders are the most common, followed by depression. A significant number of Australians are also affected by personality disorders, eating disorders, psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia, and more. Some people have more than one diagnosis, and far too many Australians go undiagnosed. At least , Australians live with complex mental illness CMI , but an experience like CMI affects the lives of many people around the person with symptoms.

That makes four million Australians affected.


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Indigenous Australians experience much higher rates of psychological distress than the general population, and lower access to mental health services. Mental illness is not more common in rural and remote areas than in cities, but rates of suicide are much higher, services are harder to access and stigma can be higher. One in seven children aged have experienced a mental illness and over a quarter of Australians aged are experiencing a mental illness at any given time.

Many people who live with mental illness first experience symptoms during adolescence. Related: Mental illness in younger people.

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Related: Is someone you know unwell? Unfortunately, chemical changes in the brain or brain structure that occur with mental illness actually change the way that the person is able to think and rationalize. While some behaviors may be controlled, depending on the type of mental illness, many people are not able to fully control their behaviors. Many people who do not struggle with mental illness think that having a mental health condition somehow indicates that a person who does is weak.

This stigma is due, in part, to the fact that mental illness cannot be seen or easily diagnosed.

The stigma associated with mental illness is very unique. Yet somehow, to say the same thing about mental illness is not only considered acceptable by society but is generally regarded as true. While public education is making some progress in educating others about mental illness, there is still much work that needs to be done in reducing this stigma. Mental health conditions in children do tend to manifest differently than in adults.

Unfortunately, children can develop clinical depression , anxiety and other mental illnesses. There are many mental health conditions that can lead to behavioral issues , so it can be difficult sometimes to distinguish between which types of misbehavior are a normal part of childhood and which are symptomatic of an underlying mental illness. While mental illness is less common in children, it is still possible for children to develop mental health issues. There is a stigma that people with mental illnesses are not productive and are not able to hold jobs or function in the workplace.

However, just because someone has a mental illness does not mean that they are any less likely to be able to succeed in life. While it is true that some mental illnesses may cause severe impairments, most mental illnesses can be managed with therapy and medication. Most people are surprised to learn that within their circle of friends, co-workers and family members are several people who have been diagnosed with and are being treated for a mental health disorder.

Mental illness is quite common, but many who struggle with it do not openly discuss it because of the associated stigma. While many people mistakenly assume that there is a connection between mental health and intelligence , this is not normally true.

7 Mental health myths and facts

This does not affect their ability to reason or make logical choices. People who know someone with a mental health disorder often wonder exactly how to help someone with mental illness. There are several things that you can do to help those with mental illnesses that will be beneficial to them. If you are talking to someone about their mental illness, find a private place to talk without distractions.

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Because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, people who are willing to talk about their condition often prefer to do so in a private setting. Be sensitive to the stigma associated with mental illness and to your own biases. Genuine concern and a listening ear will often help the person you are talking to more than anything else.


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One important thing to keep in mind when speaking to someone with a mental illness, especially if their condition involves depression , is the increased risk for self-harm or suicidal ideation. If you think this might be the case, the best approach is to ask up front if they are considering suicide. Are you thinking about ending your life?

If the person you are talking to is considering suicide you should take them to the hospital and get them immediate care. If they will not go with you, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline and ask them how to handle the situation or what you can do to immediately help the person you are speaking with. It had its own shape.

The Stigma of Mental Illness: Separating Fact from Fiction

It could not be contained. It was a terror. When her new friend Claire threatens suicide, Lucy narrates:. Suicide was one of those things that, having been suicidal, in retrospect, I felt like I could talk about without being judgmental.

Busting the myths

But at the same time, there was no rational reason I could see giving her to live. This is why representation matters in so many ways — knowing that your experience is not yours alone can be incredibly liberating and validating. These recent novels are a big deal because they still feel incredibly rare, perhaps because in comparison to nonfiction that confronts mental illness, the fictional offerings are few and far between.

Out of Darkness: Joanna's Story

They manage to capture the realities of mental illnesses while also telling gripping, moving, and often beautiful stories. They provide a place where readers of fiction can recognize aspects of themselves and feel seen.

Pan, about a parental suicide — also deal with mental health issues. She is the founder and host of The Other Stories , a podcast featuring new, emerging, and established fiction writers. Contact Ilana Masad at tomi. Got a confidential tip? Submit it here. Calum Heath for BuzzFeed News.

Fiction has had such a long, exhausting history of using mental illnesses as symbols and plot devices. YA has been somewhat of a pioneer in the realm of representing mental illness.

Mental Illness, Fact or Fiction Mental Illness, Fact or Fiction
Mental Illness, Fact or Fiction Mental Illness, Fact or Fiction
Mental Illness, Fact or Fiction Mental Illness, Fact or Fiction
Mental Illness, Fact or Fiction Mental Illness, Fact or Fiction
Mental Illness, Fact or Fiction Mental Illness, Fact or Fiction
Mental Illness, Fact or Fiction Mental Illness, Fact or Fiction
Mental Illness, Fact or Fiction Mental Illness, Fact or Fiction
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