Matt Hardy, Guest columnist
It is vital for the one in five Americans who live with mental health conditions that we debunk mental health myths that persist.
- Matt Hardy, PhD, is a regional vice president at Centerstone.
May 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of #MentalHealthMonth.
In the decades since the first observance, #stigma surrounding #mentalhealthissues has greatly reduced. However, misconceptions and misinformation still exist. It is vital for the one in five Americans who live with #mentalhealthconditions that we debunk #mentalhealth myths that persist.
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
I asked some of our #mentalhealthprofessionals at Centerstone what myths still need busting regarding #mentalhealthcare matters. Here are three myths and the truth about each.
- Myth: The way to fix a #mentalhealthissue is to “snap out of it.”
- Truth: Telling someone to snap out of a #mentahealthcondition is like telling a diabetic to snap out of diabetes. #Mentalillness may involve genetics, brain chemistry, life experiences such as trauma or abuse as well as other significant social factors. It’s true that people with #mentalhealthproblems can improve, and some experience full recovery. But it isn’t a snap.
Improvements often require and are achieved through talk therapy, prescribed medicine and other lifestyle changes which take time.
- Myth: People with #mentalhealthchallenges are dangerous and often criminals.
- Truth: Those with a major #mentalillness are actually more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators. Because they often also struggle with issues of poverty, transient living conditions and substance use, their vulnerability is increased. While the media may regularly highlight crimes committed by someone with a #mentalillness, research suggests that is rarely the case with criminal violence.
- Myth: #Suicide is not preventable.
- Truth: #Suicide is preventable. Eight out of 10 people who die of suicide give definite clues to their intentions, although some may be nonverbal or difficult to detect. Warning signs–such as #anxiety, agitation or trouble sleeping; withdrawal from friends, family and regular activities; and/or substance use–often indicate someone is experiencing thoughts of #suicide.
#MentalHealth First Aid classes are available to educate the public about how to recognize symptoms in a person and guide them to crisis care.
On the clinical level, many health care providers, including Centerstone, use risk assessment methods at each appointment to determine if an individual needs an active safety plan put in place to avoid self-harm. Resulting data shows that many lives are saved.Get the Tennessee Voices newsletter in your inbox.
No one has to weather a #mentalhealthcondition alone. There is help, hope and healing for all with #mentalillness and addiction, which is why it’s important we bust the myths and spread the truth during #MentalHealthMonth and beyond.
Matt Hardy, PhD, is a regional vice president at Centerstone overseeing its integrated behavioral and physical health care services in the northern area of Middle Tennessee.