Myth vs Fact: Mental Illness (Editorial)

More stories from Maya Daye


Mental illness is a topic that is very controversial. Some people think people fake mental illnesses for attention, while others think that it is very serious and should not be taken lightly no matter what. Some people think that it doesn’t even exist. There are various myths about things regarding mental health; here are just a few.

Myth: Mental illness doesn’t exist.
Fact: Wrong! Mental illness is very much real and it affects millions of people. According to, more than 60 million Americans have a mental illness in any given year, including one in four adults and one in five children.

Myth: I can’t have a mental illness, I’m [insert race here]!
Fact: This is completely untrue; your race does not make you immune to mental illnesses. tells us that over 6.8 million of the 13.2% of the U.S. population that identifies as Black or African-American had a diagnosable mental illness in 2014, and over 8.6 million of 17.4% of the U.S. population that identifies as Latino/Hispanic had a diagnosable mental illness in 2014.

Myth: People with mental illnesses are violent.
Fact: Not all people with mental illnesses are violent. In fact, (website for National Alliance on Mental Illness) says that people with mental illnesses are actually more likely to be the victims of violence.

Myth: OCD just means you’re a neat freak.
Fact: This is actually a very widespread stereotype. The definition of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) is “a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, recurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.” Being a “neat freak” has nothing to do with it.

Myth: People who are “mentally ill” are just faking it for attention.
Fact: Actually, there is a mental illness (Histrionic Personality disorder) in which people do do things for attention, as well as disorders that cause people to fake mental illnesses (Factitious disorders.) Unless one has either of these, it is highly likely that they can not fake their mental illness for attention.

These were just a small portion of myths about mental illness; there are so many more. To help those with mental illness, we need to learn more about these disorders and dispel the myths surrounding them.

Disclaimer: Articles designated as “Editorial” represent the views and opinions of the author, not the 2016-2017 Periscope staff, CHS Administration, or the CHS student body.