Myth Busting: 5 Myths About Youth Mental Health and Addiction

Young Ones, a youth mental health/addiction organization I work for, had a myth busting article published recently on! Young Ones is very excited to have been given the opportunity to have CanadaHelps charity spotlight. We hope it will bring recognition to the organization and continue to spread awareness about youth mental health/addictions! Thank you CanadaHelps!

I complied these 5 myths by determining which were mentioned the most on mental health websites. I then went to our youth and asked them to provide feedback on how the 5 myths were untrue. We believed it was very important that our youth have a voice in this article.

Click on the link for the full article but here is a little sneak peak!

Myth Busting: 5 Myths About Youth Mental Health and Addiction

1. Bad parenting causes mental illness and addiction in youth.

“For many youth, their parents and/or guardians can also play a large role in their recovery by offering love and support.”

2. Children and youth can’t have mental illnesses, only adults can.

“Half of all mental illnesses begin before a child reaches age 14, a statistic which spikes to 75 percent before age 24.”

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3. It is impossible to prevent mental illness.

“…helping children and youth develop a positive self-identity, self-esteem, and self-regulation, adults can support and prevent potential mental health problems. When youth know they have someone on their side, crises can be less damaging, or simply avoided.”

4. Drug addiction is a choice.

“Youth addicted to drugs and/or alcohol chose to try the substance for various reasons, but prolonged use can alter brain chemistry and cause changes in the body. When this occurs, substance use is not a choice; it becomes a physical and psychological need regardless of the negative impact it has on someone’s daily life.”

5. Youth with mental illness and/or addictions are weak, have a flawed personality and are bad people.

“…each youth possesses different abilities, personalities, experiences, wants and needs – all of which needs to be respected and understood, not negatively lumped together. “

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7 thoughts on “Myth Busting: 5 Myths About Youth Mental Health and Addiction

  1. Shoe, I believe you are correct. If we all looked at people with mental illness as someone who has suffered some kind of trauma as a little child, instead of looking at us as a drain on societies resources, maybe then things would change. They make flashy giant posters against all kinds of things, why not one on long term effects of child neglect, verbal abuse, etc. What would that picture look like?

  2. Looking back through my school report cards, reports from the school psychologists, and from memory if what I remember, my issues starting to creep up around 7, and I still clearly remember being suicidal at 10.

    I think my trauma and a lot of my issues may have stemmed from the bullying I received from an early age, when I was in school, I was being bullied. I don’t remember by parents being abusive or anything, so I don’t think they did anything to cause it.

    • We sound similar.

      A psychiatrist pointed out a dramatic change in grades and teacher comments on my participation level in gr. 4. I can think of a few things that might have contributed to that. Also, I have a memory of being 12 and writing in my journal that I wanted to kill myself and no one would notice I was gone. I started self harming soon after that.

      My parents didn’t do anything either. I know parental abuse is common among those with BPD but I think as you and I show bullying by peers does something. For me at least, I described my friends who bullied me as my family. I cared so much about them, what they thought, that letting them down would rip my apart. Still, I got the whole, “It’s puberty” from a psychiatrist until I was 16 years old.

    • Justin, when you were bullied, did your parents support you and try to protect you? Or did they tell you to ‘buck up’ so to speak? Or something else? I wonder if parents were more supportive, would we have less mental health issues. I know it is bigger then just our parents supporting us, but I wonder what roll it plays in our mh.
      I feel so alone in so many ways when it comes to my family. We are so effed up it is not even close to funny. How we got through it all is beyond me. We really should not be alive to tell about it.
      Thank you for sharing Justin, it is really good to hear the man’s perspective of these issues.

      • My parents did what they could, the issue was they couldn’t follow me around at school which is where it happened, they went to the school a lot to try and deal with it, but the school wasn’t interested in doing much. In the 80’s to early/mid 90’s schools were less interested in dealing with bullying and just wrote it off as kids being kids, and telling people tended to make it worse, so I eventually just stopped telling anyone about it.

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