Common Myths about Mental Illness

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Myth: Mental illness only affects a few people.

Fact:Mental illness is common. One in five Australians will experience a mental illness. It affects people of all ages, educational and income levels and cultures.

Myth: Mental illness is caused by a personal weakness.

Fact:A mental illness is not a character flaw. It is caused by genetic, biological, social and environmental factors. Seeking and accepting help is a sign of strength.

Myth: People with a mental illness never get better.

Fact:With the right kind of help, most people do recover and lead healthy, productive and satisfying lives.

Myth: People with a mental illness can “pull themselves out of it”.

Fact:A mental illness is not caused by personal weakness and is not “cured” by personal strength.

Myth: People with a mental illness are violent.

Fact:People with a mental illness are no more violent or dangerous than the rest of the population. People with a mental illness are more likely to harm themselves – or to be harmed – than they are to hurt other people.

Myth: People with a mental illness should be kept in hospital.

Fact:With appropriate treatment and support, people with mental illness can live successfully in the community.  In fact, the majority of people with a mental illness live independently in the community.

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