Myths and Facts

Myth: Depression and Anxiety aren’t real – they can be solved by thinking more positively or being more successful
Fact: Mental health problems are real medical conditions, and have diagnostic criteria that medical doctors and psychologists use to make these diagnoses. The biology of depression and anxiety is complex – but it is now well understood that there are differences present in levels of certain brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) then when they are present.

Positive thinking can help as part of treatments like mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), but most often, more support is required. Recovery from mental health problems is often called a long journey of self-discovery

Myth: People who are mentally strong don’t experience mental health problems
Fact: Anyone can experience a mental health problem – at least 1 in 5 Canadians annually. Not everyone will experience a mental health problem for their whole lives, sometimes circumstances can lead to symptom development, when none were there before.

Myth: It’s best not to talk about mental health
Fact: The complete opposite is true. When people are reluctant to talk about mental health in general, those experiencing symptoms will be more likely to feel shame and stigma, and be less likely to reach out for help. Help is effective.

Myth: Antidepressants aren’t natural, I can manage on my own
Fact: This is sometimes true, and depends on each individual circumstance. However, it is important to know that even if someone does go to a doctor, medications are only one of many treatment options available. Most often, over time, people will find their own mix of things that work for them to live life as symptom free as possible – which may or not include medication. Antidepressants work by changing the availability and use of naturally occurring brain chemicals.

Myth: Depression and anxiety are problems only adults have – kids have nothing to worry about
Fact: Many mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, commonly show signs in childhood and adolescence. Schizophrenia almost always shows signs in adolescence. All of these symptoms are easily dismissed as being “normal teenage behaviour”, but early intervention improves recovery.

Myth: It’s normal to feel depression and anxiety – it’s just part of life.
Fact: Feeling sad and anxious are feelings we will all feel at some point in our lives. However, if these feelings are persistent and impact quality of life or ability to do things one would otherwise enjoy, effective help is available.