Mental Health Myths & Facts
Courtesy of MentalHealth.gov | Updated 2/28/22
Can you tell the difference between a mental health myth and fact?
Learn the truth about the most common mental health myths.
Mental Health Problems Affect Everyone
Myth: Mental health problems don't affect me.
Fact: Mental health problems are actually very common.
In 2020, about:
- One in five American adults experienced a mental health issue
- One in 6 young people experienced a major depressive episode
- One in 20 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression
Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. In fact, it was the 2nd leading cause of death for people ages 10-24. It accounted for the loss of more than 45,979 American lives in 2020, nearly double the number of lives lost to homicide. Learn more about mental health problems.
Myth: Children don't experience mental health problems.
Fact: Even very young children may show early warning signs of mental health concerns. These mental health problems are often clinically diagnosable, and can be a product of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors.
Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14 years old, and three-quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24.
Unfortunately, only half of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other developmental needs.
Myth: People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.
Fact: The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3%–5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population. You probably know someone with a mental health problem and don't even realize it, because many people with mental health problems are highly active and productive members of our communities.