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Catholic Charities Corporation Administrative Offices:

7911 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102

(216) 334-2900

Mental Health Month: Dispelling Mental Health Myths

Posted May 21, 2021 by Jonathan Clemente

Mental Health Month: Dispelling Mental Health Myths

As a peer support specialist with lived experience, I know that being diagnosed with a mental illness can be scary, overwhelming and confusing—especially in our society, where having a mental illness was historically viewed as a stigma and often not even considered a real illness.

Our society still has a long way to go in understanding mental illness, and below are three myths I thought it important to dispel.

  • Myth 1: People with a mental health condition do not recover.

    Collaborating with my psychiatrist, I was able to find the right medications that have helped reduce my symptoms. In therapy, I have confronted some of the disturbing elements of my psychosis and strive to overcome the social and vocational limitations imposed by my condition. Twelve-step recovery and spirituality have helped me to be happy, joyous and free, and I have been sober since Dec. 14, 2003.
  • Myth 2: Having a mental health condition means that you will not have a rewarding life.

    There is no question that having a mental health condition can be a very challenging obstacle to overcome. With this being said, now that I have found the right treatments for my condition, I have had a very rewarding life. Since accepting help for my condition, I have improved the quality of relationships, gained better peace of mind and stronger vocational achievements, and have a deeper spiritual insight.

  • Myth 3: People with mental illness are usually violent.

    While there are isolated incidences of violence by individuals with a mental health condition, my doctor has informed me that individuals with a mental health condition are more likely to be victims of violent crime than perpetrators. The association between criminality and mental illness is not entirely grounded. Psychosis is a symptom of a mental health condition that is essentially a loss of touch with reality, not a violent state. Please see this article for more detailed information:

Jonathan Clemente serves as a peer support specialist with Catholic Charities' FIRST Cuyahoga Program and is also a consultant with Northeast Ohio Medical University. As a peer support specialist, Jonathan utilizes his lived experience recovering from serious mental illness (SMI) and psychosis to mentor other individuals who have recently experienced their first episode of psychosis (FEP). In addition to these roles, Jonathan also has a passion for the visual arts and received his bachelor in fine arts in painting from the Cleveland Institute of Art. In his spare time, Jonathan enjoys playing chess, a good cappuccino, and socializing with friends and family.

If you or someone you know are experiencing difficulties with mental health or substance abuse, Catholic Charities is here to help. Click here to learn more.

Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Part of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

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