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Challenging Myths About Mental Illness

Challenging Myths About Mental Illness
This morning, my colleague Dianne Link and I were discussing issues related to mental illness. We both teach the Challenged by Mental Illness at Work Topic Module, and often find ourselves comparing notes about so many beliefs and myths we hear about people living with and challenged by mental illness.

Dianne was kind enough to share an article she read in The New York Times. The article speaks to one of many myths about mental illness. This myth involves an overall societal belief that workplace violence is caused primarily by people who are challenged by mental illness.

I completely agree with the statements made in the article. I strongly feel that the public is largely misinformed about the often-reported link between mental illness and violence. In searching for answers, we try to make sense of mass shootings and other violent events that defy sense. We sometimes look for magic solutions where there is no magic. In doing so, we sometimes focus on inaccurate and incorrect information without considering all of the facts.

At CPI, we have conducted extensive research on this topic. When we designed the Topic Module, we consulted many international subject matter experts on the issue.

The fact is that many people engage in problematic behavior at work, even without a diagnosis of mental illness. We can never assume that problematic behavior of any kind—even when extreme—is due to mental illness. It is also important to note that mental illness is a medical condition that should be diagnosed by properly qualified professionals.
 

In fact, people living with mental illness are more likely to be victims, rather than perpetrators, of violence.  

 
Myth: Mentally ill people are violent. Truth: People w/ #mentalillness are more often victims.

Generally, they are no more violent than the overall population. While individuals with some forms of serious mental illness present some degree of risk, appropriate treatment strategies often mitigate this factor.

Mental health issues are more common than most people think. In fact, 1 in 4 people experiences at least one mental disorder in their lifetime. Mental illnesses are more common than cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, and depression is the most common mental health problem.
 

Staff awareness training


CPI’s Challenged by Mental Illness at Work Topic Module is a training program for raising employee awareness about and increasing sensitivity toward the issue of mental illness.

The training helps participants build practical strategies for managing many different types of problematic behavior at work. It presents CPI’s Four Priorities of Mental Health Crisis Response Procedures, and empowers participants to:
  • Explore assumptions and beliefs about mental illness.
  • Describe CPI’s working definition of mental illness and related terminology.
  • Discuss realities and myths about people living with mental illness.
  • Intervene in problem situations.
  • Refer individuals who may be experiencing a potential mental health crisis to appropriate resources.


To find out more


I invite you to download CPI's Checklist for Managing Mental Health at Work.

Also watch our free webinar for strategies on addressing mental health issues in your workplace. Please share the webinar with your friends, family, and coworkers too. Together we can reduce stigma, debunk myths, and give people with mental illness the support they need.
 

If you’re a CPI Certified Instructor


Log in to purchase workbooks for teaching the Topic Module to staff at your organization. To learn more first, watch this Instructor-specific webinar, one of the many benefits of your certification.
 

Now I pass it over to you.


What are you doing to raise awareness, stop stigma, and address concerns? Please let me know in the comments!
 
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