Common myths about mental illness

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.


24 Hour Emergency Services

Health Direct Australia

1800 022 222

Mental Health Emergency Response Line (MHERL)

1300 555 788 Metro

1800 676 822 Peel

Rural Link

1800 552 002

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