A quarter of American adults — more than 61 million people — suffer from mental illness in any given year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Of those, nearly 14 million endure a serious mental disorder like major depression or schizophrenia. However, despite the high rates of occurrence and decades-long public outreach efforts, myths about mental illness still continue. So, what are some false beliefs that people persist to harbor about individuals enduring mental illness?
Sufferers are powerless
While some unchangeable factors like genetics certainly play a role, the idea that individuals experiencing mental illness can do nothing to help themselves is completely false. Along with undergoing treatment from qualified professionals, sufferers can make healthy lifestyle choices by eating well, exercising, getting adequate sleep and taking steps to manage stress. In addition, friends and loved ones can provide vital support that can help get the condition under control.
Mental health issues make people unemployable
Individuals with mental illness can live highly productive lives, including excelling in most employment situations. Unfortunately, employers aren’t always willing to hire people who are receiving treatment for mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that nationwide, unemployment rates among mentally ill people are tremendously high. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that individuals with mental health needs are equally as productive as other workers.
Individuals with mental illness are (or should be) ashamed
Although society continues to attach a stigma, no one should ever feel shame over mental health disorders. The British Journal of Psychiatry points out that genetic predisposition appears to contribute significantly to all manner of depressive disorders, ranging from mild to severe. It’s unfortunate that society continues to distinguish between mental and physical disorders, the journal notes, because both the mind and body typically play a role in the development of any illness.
Getting treatment is easy
In many areas of the United States, securing proper treatment for mental illness can be extremely difficult. Some areas have fewer mental health professionals than are needed based on population, and the U.S. government has designated some localities as “health professional shortage areas.” As a consequence of local, state and federal budget cuts in recent years, quality care has become even more difficult to access.
There’s no such thing as “mental illness”
Believe it or not, some individuals including psychiatrists, assert that mental illness itself is a myth, as JAMA Psychiatry reports. This argument holds that mentally ill people are as rational as everyone else but have different goals and that the term “mental illness” is used solely for society to make medically sanctioned value judgments about others. In reality, mental illnesses are physical disorders of the brain. Like heart disease, they are legitimate medical conditions, as ASHA International notes.
Mental illnesses — and myths — persevere
The myths that surround mental illness make life that much more difficult for sufferers and their loved ones. Isolation, unemployment and poor quality of life are among the sometimes devastating effects for individuals dealing with mental disorders. Effective treatments are available, but getting them to the people who need them will take continued efforts at education and outreach.
Pasadena Villa programs set out to create a comforting and therapeutic environment while promoting mental health and a socially fulfilling future. Our recreational therapy incorporates resident interests, their family and the surrounding community. It is extremely individualized to each person’s interests, abilities and lifestyle. It also provides a unique perspective regarding the social, cognitive, physical, and leisure needs of the resident. Recreational therapists merge the concepts of healthy living into real time treatment to develop improved functioning and to enhance independence and successful involvement in all aspects of life. Staff and residents learn and model appropriate social and communication skills including daily mealtimes, as well as many relaxing arts, crafts and recreational activities.
Our mental health professionals work directly with residents. They observe them in actual social situations and incorporate these observations directly into the resident’s ongoing treatment plan. This individual real life personalized attention makes the Pasadena Villa treatment experience more appropriate, relevant and beneficial for each of our residents, especially when compared to any other available adult residential treatment mental health services.
The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. Pasadena Villa’s Outpatient Center in Raleigh, North Carolina offers partial hospitalization (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (PHP). If you or someone you know may need mental health services, please complete our contact form or call us at 407-574-5190 for more information.