Myths

“Myths and creeds are heroic struggles to comprehend the truth in the world.” ~ Ansel Adams

This page addresses some common myths and misconceptions about emotional health that South Asians have. Choose a topic below and then click on “Fact” to reveal the truths about each topic!

ADHDChild AbuseDepressionDomestic/Partner AbuseElder AbuseGeneral Emotional HealthMarital/Relationship HealthStressSuicideTeen Dating Violence

ADHD

Myth #1 :

ADHD is not a real disorder.

Fact:

Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a real mental health disorder that affects about 6-8% of children worldwide and about 4% of adults across ethnic and geographical boundaries. However, it has become over diagnosed in children who have other issues causing similar symptoms including sleep disorders, poor nutrition, depression and anxiety.

Myth #2 :

ADHD only affects boys.

Fact:

According to the CDC, about twice as many boys are diagnosed with ADHD. While research is showing that boys may be more susceptible to it, girls may be underdiagnosed because they tend to show symptoms of ADHD-Inattentive Type which is far less disruptive than the Hyperactive or COmbined type that is commonly seen among boys.

Myth #3 :

ADHD means you are always out of your chair and are running around.

Fact:

ADHD can present itself in three different forms. ADHD-Hyperactive type presents itself as a child or adult who has trouble sitting still, interrupts often, or is impulsive in behavior. People with ADHD-Inattentive type do not present that way but instead have a hard time focusing, have trouble concentrating and seem forgetful. Some people can have ADHD-Combined type, which is a combination of symptoms from the other two subtypes.

Myth #4 :

A child with ADHD is just being difficult. It is a phase and it will pass.

Fact:

If a child truly has ADHD, it is a lifelong disorder that will not automatically disappear nor will it be cured by medication or diet. As adults, people with ADHD become better at working around their symptoms so that they are not so limiting in their productivity. They do this by choosing professions where their ADHD symptoms can be used as a strength, for example jobs that require multitasking or physical labor that can helpl improve concentration. This gives the false impression that the ADHD is gone.

Myth #5 :

Children with ADHD are not as smart as children without ADHD.

Fact:

On the contrary, research has shown that children with ADHD tend to score on average about 10 points higher on intelligence tests than children without ADHD. Academic success is challenging for children with ADHD because the school system in the US is not built to work around ADHD symptoms. Therefore, children with ADHD may rush through homework, make careless mistakes or lose focus during an assignment which can lead to lower grades. These grades do not reflect a child’s academic potential.

Myth #6 :

I was just like him so there’s nothing wrong with him.

Fact:

Just because a parent identifies with the child’s symptoms does not mean the child does not have ADHD. In fact, the opposite is more likely to be true: the parent also has ADHD. ADHD has a strong genetic link; however, the presenting cluster of symptoms may be different across generations. It is entirely possible for a parent to have ADHD Inattentive type and for their child to develop ADHD Hyperactive Type.

Myth #7 :

He’s just a very active child. Boys will be boys.

Fact:

The difference between active children and those with ADHD is that the former are able to control their symptoms when asked or when necessary. Children with ADHD do not receive adequate stimulation to sustain focus and thus are always seeking ways to receive this stimulation even if it is not appropriate to do so. This can be in the form of constantly being on the move, talking incessantly or doodling when they cannot focus.

Myth #8 :

Poor parenting causes ADHD.

Fact:

It is easy to blame the parents for a child who looks like he or she is misbehaving. It has been shown that overly critical or negative parenting as well as poor management can exacerbate ADHD symptoms but they do not cause them. ADHD has a significant genetic link, meaning that more likely than that the child was born with set of genes associated with ADHD. It also suggests that at least 1 genetic relative probably has ADHD in some form as well.

Myth #9 :

Taking ADHD medications will make it more likely for the child to abuse drugs when they become a teenager.

Fact:

While this is a widely-held belief, the opposite is actually more likely to happen. Untreated ADHD increases the risk of impulsive behavior such as abusing drugs and alcohol. Appropriate treatment actually reduces this risk even during adolesence when impulsivity is generally high regardless of a mental health diagnosis.

Myth #10 :

ADHD is caused by a diet high in sugar, food coloring or preservatives.

Fact:

There is no research that shows diet causes ADHD. Studies have shown, however, that diets high in sugar or additives can exacerbate an pre-existing set of sympotms associated with ADHD.

Child Abuse

Myth #1 :

It’s only abuse if it’s physical violence.

Fact:

Physical abuse is just one form of abuse. Children can be emotionally or sexually abused. Neglect is also a form of abuse. These types of abuses often occur behind closed doors and thus the child is less likely to receive help.

Myth #2:

Most children don’t know their abuser.

Fact:

More than 80% of children know their abuser and trust them. Most commonly, child abusers are family members or someone very close to the family and the child. We assume child abusers look creepy or scary but the fact is they can be anyone in your family or community without a stereotypical look.

Myth #3:

Child abuse does not occur in the South Asian community.

Fact:

Child abuse exists in all cultures, races, ethnicities regardless of socioeconomic status. In a large scale study conducted in India in 2007 , they found 2 out of 3 children are physically abused. Out of this group, 88% were abused by their parents. More than 50% of children in India experience one or more forms of sexual abuse as a child. One in 2 children experience emotional abuse and 48% of girls wish they were boys. In Sri Lanka, 27% of pending trials are those of child abuse. This statistic would probably significantly increase if everyone reported the abuse. There are over 2000 reported cases of child abuse each year in Pakistan.

Myth #4:

Children will show signs of abuse.

Fact:

Some children may have obvious signs or symptoms, such as acting out, becoming extremely introverted fearing certain locations or having nightmares. However, many children who experience abuse keep it a secret and may not show any signs that they have or are experiencing signs of abuse. Many times, the abuser threatens the child if they say anything so the child becomes afraid to tell even the most trusted adult. Other times, children may not speak up or act out because developmentally the lack the cognitive skills to understand what abuse is and what it means. If the abuser is a parent, children may lie to cover the abuse to protect his/her parents and to keep their family intact.

Myth #5:

If the abuse happens only once, the child will not experience long-term effects of the abuse.

Fact:

Abuse, whether it happens once or repeatedly, is a violation of the child and can come with it, long term effects. Because children grow and change at such a rapid rate, the child will understand the abuse at a younger age differently than when he gets a little older, even if the abuse has stopped. It is crucial to keep talking to the child about the abuse as he grows in a language that is appropriate for his age. This can be best done with the help of a mental health professional who will have tips and suggestions on how to help the child conceptualize and understand the abuse and it’s consequences.

Myth #6:

Abused children always grow up to be abusers.

Fact:

Abused children are more likely to act violently as adults than children who never experienced abuse. However, not all children become violent adults. Some survivors of child abuse, as adults, become more protective of their friends, family and children against what they went through. Most abused children grow up to be at risk for further abuse as adults.

Myth #7:

Most sexual abuse of boys is perpetrated by homosexual males.

Fact:

Sexual orientation and sexual abuse are often mistakenly taken to be related. Boys or men who sexually abuse girls are not acting out heterosexual behaviors so men who abuse boys are not engaging in homosexual behavior. Abuse is not linked to sexuality regardless of gender. Boys can also be sexually abused by females, such as their mothers aunt, or baby-sitter.

Myth #8:

I grew up with my parents hitting me with a belt. That is not a form of abuse.

Fact:

Corporal punishment is a type of physical punishment that involves deliberately causing pain as a consequence to a behavior. This can include spanking, slapping or using an object. In the United States, anything other than spanking or slapping (that does not leave a mark) is considered physical abuse by law.

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Depression

Myth #1 :

Depression is just a fancy word for saying that you’re sad.

Fact:

Depression and sadness are very different experiences and equating one with the other is just like saying having a cold is the same as having pneumonia. Sadness is a common, natural experience to an emotionally painful situation. Clinical depression is a much more serious, diagnosable condition that affects your mood, thoughts and your physical health. When depressed, people’s daily functioning is often altered. Activities that once seemed enjoyable no longer catch your interest and often you feel fatigued, hopeless or overwhelmed. Research has also shown that South Asians who are depressed often have chronic headaches, stomach and back pains as well. While sadness lasts minutes, hours or a few days, depression lasts for weeks, months or sometimes even years.

Myth #2:

Depression is a “Western” concept. People in the South Asian community don’t feel depressed.

Fact:

The word “depression” originates from the West as does the symptom criteria that need to be met for the diagnosis. However, depression is a feeling that exists cross-culturally and is very common within the South Asian community. Because of the misinformation about it and the stigma associated with it, it seems as if less South Asians are living with depression than they actually are. In fact, in 2010 the World Health Organization announced that depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, with 120 million people affected.

Myth #3:

Depression is not curable and if you are depressed once you’ll be depressed for life.

Fact:

Depression is one of the most treatable mental health issues. In most cases, depression lasts for a limited amount of time and given the appropriate treatments, people can return to a healthy lifestyle. The most common treatment options are psychotherapy or medication. One can be done without the other, although in severe cases, the combination is the best option. Exercise and some dietary changes have also shown short-term relief from depressive symptoms. Depression rarely, if at all, goes away by itself.

Myth #4:

Depression is a normal part of the aging process.

Fact:

Depression is not a normal part of the aging process. The elderly population tends to report more incidence of depression because of significant life experience such as the death of friends or a spouse or the loss of autonomy and independence because of physical restrictions. It is important to note that the depression is not a result of aging but is due to numerous hardships one faces in a relatively short amount of time.

Myth #5:

Children are not affected by depression.

Fact:

In most cultures, children are seen as innocent, carefree, protected individuals who are happy and have no worries. According to the World Health Organization in 2009, about 20% of the world’s children and adolescents struggle with a mental health symptoms or a mental disorder. Because children and adolescents don’t have the vocabulary to express how they are feeling, their depressive symptoms tend to come out in different ways, for example: irritability, drop in academic performance and grades, refusal to go to school, increase in misbehavior at home or school, falling sick often, excessive clinginess, etc.

Myth #6:

Depression only affects women.

Fact:

While the prevalence rate of depression in women is twice as high as in men, depression is experienced by both genders. A possible reason for the higher prevalence rate in women is that depression is often underreported in men, especially in cultures such as the South Asian cultures that discourage men from sharing their emotions or being vulnerable. In fact, the suicide rate is significantly higher in men than in women so depression in men should be taken very seriously.

Myth #7:

If a parent is depressed, then their child will definitely be too.

Fact:

If depression runs in the family, genetically the child is more likely to develop depression. But just like with physical illnesses such as high blood pressure or diabetes, genetic predisposition does not automatically mean the child will become depressed. . The parent and child should just be aware that the child is at a greater risk and make informed life decisions for a healthy lifestyle to reduce the child’s chances of becoming clinically depressed.

Myth #8:

Antidepressants are addictive.

Fact:

Research has shown no conclusive evidence that anti-depressants are addictive. If tapered off slowly while being monitored by a physician or psychiatrist, people should not experience any negative side effects. Without monitoring, some common complaints of discontinuing antidepressants are nausea, fatigue or dizziness but research has shown that none of those symptoms are of true withdrawal.

Myth #9:

When a depressed person says they want to commit suicide, they don’t really mean it and they are just looking for attention.

Fact:

Suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally and about 1 million people commit suicide each year worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Expression of suicidal thoughts should be taken seriously. People who commit suicide most often do talk about it first hoping to experience some support for and relief from how they are feeling. If someone shares suicidal thoughts, take it very seriously.

Myth #10:

It’s the person’s fault if they are depressed. They brought it on themselves.

Fact:

Developing depression is not a choice. However, like other physical ailments such as cardiovascular disease the choice rests in how to treat it. A good lifestyle, such as a healthy diet, regular exercise routine and treatment by a professional, are all related to lessening the symptoms and treating depression.

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Domestic/Partner Abuse

Myth #1 :

Physical and sexual abuse are the only two types of abuse.

Fact:

They are only 2 of 5 different types of abuse. In addition, there is emotional, verbal, and financial abuse. Emotional abuse aims to use psychological intimidation or manipulation to maintain power over the victim. Verbal abuse includes disparaging the victim with words to hurt the victim’s self-esteem. Financial abuse is forcing the victim to be financially dependent. All five of these type of abuse can occur to both men and women and perpetrators can be of either gender and of any ethnicity.

Myth #2:

Only women are sexual assaulted and only by men.

Fact:

Men and women can be sexually assaulted and assailants can be male or female and identifying with any sexual orientation. Sexual abuse and sexual orientation are not linked.

Myth #3:

Sexual assault victims are partially to blame especially if they were intoxicated during the attack.

Fact:

Sexual assault victims are never responsible for the attack no matter how much alcohol or drugs they had taken. While substance use can increase the risk of sexual assault, only the attacker is responsible for his/her behavior.

Myth #4:

It is not sexual abuse if the couple is dating or married.

Fact:

Unwanted sexual contact of any kind is considered abuse regardless of the relationship status. Examples of abuse include molestation and inappropriate touching with or without intercourse.

Myth #5:

Abuse is often triggered by stress, for example losing a job or having financial trouble.

Fact:

Everyone feels stress and frustration throughout their life. This stress can have a variety of sources including financial, family, academics, career, etc. While everyone responds to stress differently, violence and abuse is not a compulsive reaction to stress. It is a learned and chosen response that is an unacceptable way to manage stress.

Myth #6:

The victim did something to provoke the abuse.

Fact:

This is something abusers will often tell the victims as a way to shift the burden of responsibility. However, acting in violence is a deliberate action that cannot be forced by onto anyone. The attacker is ultimately responsible for every action he/she takes.

Myth #7:

Most abusers lose control during attacks and don’t know what they’re doing.

Fact:

Actually the exact opposite is true. Abusers control their violence very carefully by hitting in less visible places on the body, attacking during a time when the victim has no way to remove himself/herself from the situation, etc. Domestic abuse, research has shown, occurs in cyclical predictable repeated pattern of behavior.

Myth #8:

Domestic violence rarely occurs in South Asian communities.

Fact:

South Asians, as with people from any other culture or race, are not immune to abuse. In India, a woman is raped every 29 minutes. In Bhutan, hospitals treat over 100 cases of domestic assault every year. About 60% of Sri Lankan women experience domestic abuse each year. In Bangladesh, family members commit 80% of the violence against women.

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Elder Abuse

Myth #1 :

Most elder abuse occurs in nursing homes.

Fact:

Abuse can occur in nursing or retirement homes by family members or staff. However, most often it occurs in the victim’s home or in the victim’s family’s home. Older adults often love, trust and depend on their abusers and thus never speak up about the abuse. Because it is rarely discussed, most older adults do not receive help to remove themselves from an abusive situation.

Myth #2:

Elder abuse is most commonly physical abuse.

Fact:

Physical abuse is the easiest to indentify because of physical evidence such as scratches, bruises or burns Elder abuse can also take the form of emotional, verbal, sexual or financial abuse. Examples include putting them down (verbal), taking and/or spending their Social Security check (financial), being rough with intimate body parts (sexual), or by frightening them by removing cane or walker (emotional). Neglect, a form of elder abuse, is when the older adult is not given adequate food, shelter, clothing, or access to maintain good hygiene.

Myth #3:

Children who abuse aging parents were probably abused themselves.

Fact:

Abuse can occur in a cyclical patter where child abuse victims grow up to become abusers. However, most research points to abusers hurting their children and/or spouses, not their parents.

Myth #4:

Children who abuse their parents do so out of frustration and stress from caring for an aging adult.

Fact:

Taking care of a parent is difficult on many levels. The people who you saw in your eyes as superman and superwoman no longer function at the level you have been used to, which is difficult for any child to reconcile. In addition, aging parents may require constant care which can be difficult for an adult child who also has his/her own family to tend to. None of these reasons are excuses for abusing the older adult. Responsibility lies on the adult child to find appropriate ways of managing stress instead of choosing to to take out his/her emotions on his aging parent.

Myth #5:

The majority of the victims are mental challenged or unaware of their surroundings.

Fact:

Most elder abuse victims are still capable of making decisions for themselves. Their bodies might be frail or they may be disabled but they understand what is being done to them. Most of them stay silent because they are afraid of what will happen to them if they speak up, because they are ashamed or because they wrongly believe that the abuser has a good reason to hurt them.

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General Emotional Health

Myth #1:

Emotional health factors and psychological issues, such as stress, depression or marital difficulties are not as serious as physical ailments, such as cardiovascular health.

Fact:

Your state of mind and the condition of your mental health are intricately connected with all aspects of your body. This means that your emotional health requires just as much attention as your physical health. For example, when you are anxious (or nervous), your blood pressure can rise significantly. While high blood pressure is an obvious sign to most that something is seriously wrong, chronic anxiety is also a serious condition that needs to be addressed and treated especially since it has close ties to other physical ailments.

Myth #2:

The best way to deal with mental health issues such as anxiety or stress is to keep it to yourself so you don’t bother others and upset them too.

Fact:

Even without telling anyone, your issues are already affecting other people! When we are stressed or worried, we act differently. Perhaps we’ll snap at each other or we will be quieter than usual. Many times such feelings affect your sleeping and eating patterns. In addition, keeping the feelings inside can suppress your immune system and can often result in physical illnesses, such as a cold or the flu. By sharing your concerns with a trusted friend, relative or professional, you will experience some relief, gain some support and take care of your health.

Myth #3:

Mental health is a “Western” concept that has nothing to do with the South Asian community.

Fact:

While many of the original theorists were European or American, emotional health issues transcend time, age, gender, culture and race. In fact, many symptoms as indicated in the “Western” mental health literature are universally recognized experiences but are just described in different words across a variety of languages.

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Marital/Relationship Health

Myth #1:

In a good relationship, you love everything about your partner.

Fact:

It is quite unlikely that women actually love that her male partner leaves his socks lying around or that men love how much their girlfriends or wives talk without finding a solution to their problem. Relationships are about two people from different backgrounds coming together. Because you are unique from your partner, both of you will have idiosyncrasies that drive each other up the wall. It is perfectly acceptable, normal and very common to not love everything about your partner. Problems that arise in relationships often are not about disliking something about your partner, but are more about how you resolve those differences.

Myth #2:

Relationships shouldn’t be hard work.

Fact:

While it’s true that you shouldn’t have to feel like you are working harder than you are enjoying the relationship, all relationships do need attention and maintenance work at the very least. Both partners often have different communication styles, preferences, likes and dislikes, values and dreams. Working together and checking in with each other often to ensure that both of you are happy, satisfied and receiving what you need to feel happy is crucial to ensuring a healthy relationship.

Myth #3:

You should love each other equally.

Fact:

Love is very difficult to quantify. Often when people complain that they love their partner more, there is usually a basic communication issue behind it. No two people show love the same way, so it is very difficult to compare and see who loves whom more. A great conversation to have is to ask your partner to tell you how they show love and vice versa. For example, if how your wife shows you love is buying you presents but you would like it if she told you she loved you more, ask her to do that. The most important thing is that as long as both partners feel loved, it doesn’t matter “how much” it is or how it is showed.


Myth #4:

As partners, you should always agree.

Fact:

Are there any relationships in your life where you and the other person agree 100% of the time? Probably not. So why should your romantic relationship be any different? Disagreements are part of a relationship and are helpful to provide multiple points of view. Relationship health is not determined by how infrequently you disagree but is determined by how you manage the disagreements that are inherent to all relationships.


Myth #5:

Arguments are a sign that the relationship isn’t working.

Fact:

A relationship where there are no arguments is like a bomb waiting to go off. Arguments are a very healthy part of a relationship as long as they do not include the 4 most destructive elements of conversation: contempt, criticism, defensiveness and stonewalling (or disengaging from the conversation). Arguments that are resolved with respect, empathy, understanding and patience are far healthier than relationships where there are no arguments at all.


Myth #6:

South Asians have happier marriages than Americans which explains the large discrepancy in divorce rates between the two cultures.

Fact:

Due to the stigma around divorce in South Asian countries, the divorce rate in most South Asian countries misrepresents the actual level of happiness that’s experienced within marriages. The Times of India recently reported that 2 out of 5 marriages in Mumbai ended in divorce in 2008. This seems to indicate that Indian men and women are holding a higher standard for happiness in relationships and are willing to stand up against behaviors that are unacceptable within a relationship, such as physical or emotional abuse.

Myth #7:

A person’s family background has no effect on a relationship.

Fact:

Most of the problems that arise between couples are due to internalized messages and expectations that you develop from your “family-of-origin” (the family you grew up with). For example, if you had very critical parents, you may have grown up feeling unworthy or that you are not perfect enough. You could then develop unrealistic expectations of relationships and marriage, such as your partner should think you are perfect. Any criticism from a partner could then result in an argument because of your sensitivity toward critiques. Couples therapy can help identify these unrealistic expectations as well as the underlying messages you learned from your family-of-origin to improve your relationship with your partner.

Myth #8:

Physical and sexual abuse is the worst form of abuse in a relationship.

Fact:

Physical and sexual abuse are horrifying experiences that often leave physical and mental scars for years. However, emotional abuse (including verbal abuse) can be just as terrible, if not worse, and often precedes physical and/or sexual abuse. Being called names, feeling belittled, being blamed for your relationship problems, feeling intimidated or controlled are all forms of emotional (or psychological abuse). Scars from emotional abuse may not be visible but do exist and run very deep.

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Stress

Myth #1 :

Stress is the same for everyone.

Fact:

Everyone experiences and expresses stress differently. Additionally, different things cause different amounts of stress for people. For example, some people might feel high levels of stress when preparing for a presentation, while others might feel excited by the rush of speaking in public. Certain feel stress when they have to engage in intimate conversations with a loved one whereas others feel comforted by it.

Myth #2:

Everyone feels stress so it must not be bad for you.

Fact:

While it is expected that everyone will feel stress throughout their life, stress itself is not bad in small amounts. However, chronic stress has very serious consequences on mental and physical health. In addition, how you manage stress is more of an indicator of whether it will have negative effects on your body. Surrounding yourself with people who manage stress effectively can help you learn how to do the same.

Myth #3:

Happy occasions (e.g. high school graduation, wedding or birth of a child) do not cause stress.

Fact:

There are two types of stress: bad stress (called distress) and good stress (called eustress). Eustress is the type of stress that keeps us excited about life. Things like watching a scary movie or preparing to ask someone on a first date act as buffers for depression. How you conceptualize the life change determines if the stress will be negative or positive.

Myth #4:

You can’t do anything about stress.

Fact:

While stressful events will occur throughout our lifetime, sometimes out of our control, what we can manage is how we cope with the stress. Finding ways to work through the stress without feeling overwhelmed will help you maintain positive mental and physical health.

Myth #5:

Breathing deeply is the best way to manage stress.

Fact:

Deep breathing can be a very helpful strategy to reduce stress and calm yourself. However, there is no one trick that is the “best” method of reducing stress. Different things will work for different people. Writing in a journal, singing, dancing, exercising, talking to a loved one, or doing dishes are some examples of a wide variety of things people do to reduce stress. In addition, it is important to realize and change the thoughts and feelings about the situation are causing you stress. Take time to learn about what calms you down and be sure to integrate that into your daily routine, especially when times get tough.

Myth #6:

I don’t feel stressed. That must not mean I am.

Fact:

Stress is one of the few mental and physical health conditions that is known to have silent symptoms. Many of these symptoms, that often manifest themselves through the body, are often explained away as symptoms of something else. Feeling fatigued, experiencing jaw pain, having trouble breathing, difficulty concentrating are all symptoms of stress.

Myth #7:

Stress is caused by the situation.

Fact:

Stress does not come from the situation but actually comes from how you appraise, think about and feel about the situation. “This is too overwhelming” or “I can’t handle this” are all common thoughts associated with stress. Focus on your strengths and how they can help you get through the situation and you will notice your stress level will decrease.

Myth #8:

Stress is not very serious.

Fact:

Stress is a major factor in developing illnesses such as the cold, flu and pneumonia. In addition, stress significantly increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, obesity and diabetes. People with chronic stress are often anxious and experience depression as well.

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Suicide

Myth #1:

People who say they want to commit suicide are just looking for attention.

Fact:

When someone says they want to commit suicide, it is because they think nothing else in the world will help their situation. Most people who commit suicide talk about their feelings first so if someone shares suicidal thoughts, take it very seriously. You could save a life.

Myth #2:

There are no warning signs before people commit suicide.

Fact:

About 80% of people who commit suicide have exhibited warning signs prior. Warning signs can include expressing hopelessness and helplessness, being depressed, lacking interest in future plans, buying weapons, repeatedly expressing that the world would be better without them, etc. For more warning signs, read the article on suicide.

Myth #3:

When someone decides they want to kill themselves, there’s nothing anyone can do to stop them.

Fact:

Suicide can be prevented. Most people who are suicidal do not want to die but are in significant pain that they just want to end. Talking to them openly and non-judgmentally about their feelings will help them feel compassion and understanding from you and can significantly decrease their chances of going through with their plan. Providing them supportive professional resources can also help.

Myth #4:

You should never ask people who are suicidal person if they are thinking about suicide or if they have thought about how to commit suicide because talking about it will give them the idea.

Fact:

If you think they might be suicidal, chances are they have already contemplated it. Bringing it up to them put the idea in their mind. It is imperative to talk about suicide with people who are suicidal because you can learn more about how they’re thinking, what they’re feeling and what their specific intentions are. This way you can better help them reduce their suicidal thoughts and get them the appropriate help they need.

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Teen Dating Violence

Myth #1 :

Teen dating violence is just arguing. It’s not as dangerous or serious as domestic abuse in adult relationships.

Fact:

Teen dating violence includes physical, sexual, emotional and verbal abuse. The experience that teens have in a violent relationship is very similar to adult experiences. Teens in an abusive relationship experience unique difficulties that are not always present in adult situations. For example, teen relationships are not taken as seriously and thus the violence may be minimized as well. In addition, the normal adolescent insecurities can make them doubt the severity of the problem. Also, if the abuser goes to school, church or camp with the teen, he or she has no way to avoid the abuser, which puts him or her at further risk for abuse.

Myth #2:

Teens experiencing dating violence usually tell a trusted adult.

Fact:

South Asian teens often feel isolated from their families especially if they are not allowed to have relationships or have sexual partners. Fearing punishment for having a relationship or engaging in sexual activities with someone else often discourages South Asian teens from reaching out to an adult about their experience, putting them at continued risk for further abuse.

Myth #3:

Sexual assault rarely happens to teens and when it does it is usually by a stranger.

Fact:

As with adults, almost 90% of sexual assaults on teens are by a relative or friend. This increases the risk of repeated abuse because of contact can be made so easily. Because the abuser is most often familiar to the teen, he/she may feel more afraid to speak up, worried that no one will believe him/her.

Myth #4:

The abuser just can’t control his/her temper that’s why he hits.

Fact:

If that was true, the abuser would be hitting everyone who made him mad, including friends and family. Only hurting you and in places where no one can see is proof that the abuse is calculated and not a reaction to his emotions.

Myth #5:

Making jokes to put me down is not a form of abuse.

Fact:

Speaking negatively and disparagingly about you, in private or public, is a form of emotional or verbal abuse. Abusers often escalate in their harmful behavior. Emotional and verbal abuse is often the first signs of abuse followed by small bruises. These bruises often turn into broken bones, punctured organs and sometimes even death.

Myth #6:

Dating violence happens in heterosexual couples only.

Fact:

Dating violence in the homosexual community occurs at about the same rate as amongst heterosexual teens. Abuse knows no boundaries, including age, gender, race, culture and sexual orientation.

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