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5 surprising facts about mental illness

September 18, 2012

Mental illness is still widely misunderstood, despite great strides made in recent decades around understanding and acceptance of those who experience it. ‘What is mental illness’ and ‘how do you get mental illness’ are commonly searched by hundreds of thousands of Australians on Google each month.

Depression and anxiety are the types of mental illness we commonly hear about, and in terms of stigma these are often perceived to be more “acceptable” forms of mental illness than bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Regardless, mental illness and mental disorders are very wide categories, and many people are still afraid to seek help out of fear they may be judged, ostracised, lose their jobs, or even be locked away.

If you or someone you love experiences mental illness, here are 5 surprising facts about mental illness in Australia that might change your perspective a little:

1. The link between mental illness and violence is a myth – research shows that people receiving treatment for a mental illness are no more likely to be violent than the general population. The link between violence and alcohol abuse is actually stronger.

2. One in five Australians will experience mental illness at some point in their lives – meaning that you almost certainly know someone who has been through this, even if they haven’t told you.

3. Almost one in 100 Australians will experience schizophrenia during their lifetime – arguably the most stigmatised of all mental illnesses, its occurrence is more common than you might think.

4. While deaths by suicide account for more deaths than the road toll, rates of suicide among Australians have been declining since the year 2000.

5. Mental illness is caused by a complex interaction of genetics and environment – blaming someone for their mental illness makes no more sense than blaming someone for their arthritis.

Recovery from mental illness is possible. Call Life Resolutions today on 1300 668 256 to find out how our qualified psychologists can help you or a loved one with mental illness, or use the email contact form on our website.

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