Here are some common myths exploded on mental illness.

Only 17 percent of Americans are in optimum mental health. This writer is physically healthy, but I have a football knee injury. Mental health is like that, most of us have some drawback, but the extent and how we allow it to limit us is a personal choice. We all fall somewhere on a spectrum or continuum on mental health.

As a teacher, I built mental strength into my students, it is not the opposite of mental Illness. I have had many students with depression and diagnosed mental illnesses. They were able to be just as mentally strong as students with no mental illness. Look at it this way, I have diabetes, but it does not stop me from walking and running. Part of the stigma problem is this misconception.

This ties into the 17 percent statistic above. There is a myth that you cannot prevent mental illness. True, it is part genetic, and part of the traumatic events that are in a life. But you can take steps to make yourself healthier and prevent further damage. Eating a good balanced diet, having balance and structure in a daily routine, exercise, (walking not running, toning up, maybe not benching 200 pounds). There is also what I call is setting the mark — going for new goals, not looking down and being sad about a past you can’t do anything about.

Patrick Betchik

St. Marys

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