Myths & Facts

  • Myth: Mental health problems are very rare.
  • Fact: 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year.
  • Myth: People with mental illness aren’t able to work.
  • Fact: We probably all work with someone experiencing a mental health problem.
  • Myth: Young people just go through ups and downs as part of puberty, it’s nothing.
  • Fact: 1 in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem. 
  • Myth: People with mental health illnesses are usually violent and unpredictable.
  • Fact: People with a mental illness are more likely to be a victim of violence.
  • Myth: People with mental health problems don't experience discrimination
  • Fact: 9 out of 10 people with mental health problems experience stigma and discrimination. 
  • Myth: It’s easy for young people to talk to friends about their feelings.
  • Fact: Nearly three in four young people fear the reactions of friends when they talk about their mental health problems.

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The majority of violent crimes and homicides are committed by people who do not have mental health problems. 

People with mental health problems are more dangerous to themselves than they are to others: 90 per cent of people who die through suicide in the UK are experiencing mental distress

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In 2009, the total population in England and Wales aged 16 or over was just over 43 million. It is estimated that about one in six of the adult population will have a significant mental health problem at any one time, (more than 7 million people). Given this number and the 50–70 cases of homicide a year involving people known to have a mental health problem at the time of the murder, clearly the statistics data do not support the sensationalised media coverage about the danger that people with mental health problems present to the community.

Substance abuse appears to play a role: The prevalence of violence is higher among people who have symptoms of substance abuse (discharged psychiatric patients and non-patients).