Common Misconceptions About Mental Illness

Myth: "Young people and children don't suffer from mental health problems."
Fact: It is estimated that more than six million young people in America may suffer from a mental health disorder that severely disrupts their ability to function at home, in school, or in their community.

Myth: "People who need psychiatric care should be locked away in institutions."
Fact: Today, most people can lead productive lives within their communities thanks to a variety of support programs, and/or medications.

Myth: "A person who has had a mental illness can never be normal."
Fact: People with mental illnesses can, and do, recover to resume normal activities. For example, Jane Pauly, who has bipolar disorder, has received treatment and hosted her own television show in addition to leading an enriched and accomplished life.

Myth: "Mentally Ill persons are dangerous."
Fact: The vast majority of people with a mental illness are not violent. In cases when violence does occur, the incident typically results from the same reasons as with the general public, such as feeling threatened or excessive use of alcohol and/or drugs.

Myth: "People with mental illnesses can work low-level jobs but aren't suited for really important or responsible positions."
Fact: People with mental illnesses, like everyone else, have the potential to work at any level depending on their own abilities, experience and motivation.

How You Can Combat Stigma

Share your experience with mental illness. Your story can convey to others that having a mental
  illness is nothing to be embarrassed about
Help people with mental illness re-enter society. Support their efforts to obtain housing and jobs
Respond to false statements about mental illness or people with mental illness. Many people
  have wrong and damaging ideas on the subject. Accurate facts and information may help
  change both their ideas and actions

Therapy Modalities

Medication Management
Prescription medications are helpful to reduce symptoms of mental illness. Some mental illnesses are due to chemical imbalances in the brain. These chemicals are neurotransmitters. They are the messengers within the brain which enable communication between different areas of the brain and the body. When there are disturbances in the functioning of these neurotransmitters, the communication system in the brain can be disrupted. Medications can correct the imbalance of these chemicals in the brain and restore healthy neurotransmitter communication. Medications can reduce the symptoms of an acute attack and prevent recurring illness.

Take all medications only as prescribed by your doctor, ask about special precautions, keep your doctor informed about any side effects that you may have and never stop medications on your own.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has become the preferred treatment for many conditions including, but not limited to, depression, phobias, obsessions, anxiety, eating disorders, stress, self esteem, substance abuse, anger, sadness, fear and guilt. This therapy combines two very effective kinds of psychotherapy - cognitive and behavior. Behavior therapy teaches you how to calm your mind and body so that you can feel better, think more clearly and make better decisions. Cognitive therapy teaches you how certain thinking patterns are causing your symptoms and giving you a distorted picture of what is going on in your life. When combined, CBT provides you with very powerful tools for stopping symptoms and getting your life on a more satisfying track.

Thought Field Therapy (TFT)
Thought Field Therapy is an approach to rapid treatment of disturbing emotions through work with an individual's energy system. This therapy is similar to acupuncture. Through "tapping" certain pressure points in specific sequences, this therapy can provide almost instant relief. TFT has proven effective with traumatic experiences, anxieties, phobias, stress, addictions, panic, anger and many others. TFT is quick, has no side effects, is drug free and results are seen in a short period of time.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)
REBT is an action-oriented therapeutic approach that stimulates emotional growth by teaching people to replace their self-defeating thoughts, feelings and actions with new and more effective ones. REBT teaches individuals to be responsible for their own emotions and gives them the power to change and overcome unhealthy behaviors that interfere with their ability to function and enjoy life, and is based on these simple principles:

You are responsible for your own emotions and actions
Your harmful emotions and dysfunctional behaviors are the product of your irrational thinking

You can learn more realistic views of the world and, with practice, make them a part of you
You can take charge of your irrational thoughts and change them to live a more productive
  and meaningful life

Feminist Therapy
The goals of therapy are (1) to become aware of the gender-role socialization process, (2) to identify internalized gender-role messages and replace them with functional beliefs, (3) to acquire skills to bring about change in the environment, (4) to develop a wide range of behaviors that are freely chosen, and (5) to become personally empowered.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
EMDR is most commonly used to address emotional disturbance related to disturbing or traumatic events. In addition to reactions to trauma, EMDR is used to help troubling symptoms such as anxiety, depression, guilt and anger. It can also be used to enhance emotional resources such as confidence and self-esteem.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT Therapy)
DBT is a compassionate type of behavioral therapy that is intended to help people move toward having a life that feels even more meaningful and worth living. DBT therapy may be used with someone whose nervous system reacts excessively to relatively low levels of stress and takes longer than normal to return to baseline once the stress is removed. DBT targets the issues that cause distress and teaches skills to deal with them without having to resort to self-defeating behaviors. It does so in a framework that helps us understand that we are doing the best we can, even though we need to learn ways that work better.

Narrative Therapy
Narrative therapy assists clients to resolve problems by enabling them to deconstruct the meaning of the reality of their lives and relationships and to show the difference between the reality and the internalized stories of self. The narrative therapist encourages clients to redesign the story of their own lives and self-identity, according to their preferred way of life.

Family Systems Therapy
The aim of Family Systems Therapy is for family members to understand and accept their individual responsibility in the emotional functioning of the family unit. By learning to recognize the emotional relationship patterns and how anxiety is handled in the family, individual family members can manage themselves in more functional ways. Relationships change and symptoms decrease as family members improve their emotional functioning. Any family member who seeks help will aid the entire family.