Mental health has long been surrounded by stigma, judgment, and mislabeling, with notable examples in relatively recent history. Luckily, mental health studies and research have become more able to decipher mental illnesses, and huge progress has been registered in the past decades.
The general public, however, might not be up-to-date with the newest findings or understand their meaning or impact, so myths about mental health are still perpetuating. In order to better understand ourselves or the ones we love, we have to be open to knowledge and educate ourselves about mental health.
In this article, we have gathered some of the most common myths about mental health.
We hope that it helps change your perception of mental health issues and realities.
#1 Myth: Mental Health Issues Are Only Experienced by Adults
Because of the changing nature of a child’s behavior and all the difficult transitions and changes they go through in the first part of their life, many children with mental health issues are considered “normal” and in no need of treatment by their parents or guardians.
The truth is that only 20% of the children who are estimated to have mental health issues get to receive treatment. Unfortunately, mental health issues during childhood lead to difficulties throughout the entire life, and a part of these children are not educated or aware of their problems.
#2 Myth: Mental Health Issues Are Caused by a Weak Personal Trait
One of the most toxic myths for someone suffering from mental health issues is the belief that it is the result of personal weakness, and that it can be overcome by simply having enough will and determination. Many mental health issues are caused by imbalances in our brain, or by trauma we are not guilty of.
Most mental health issues do not go away on their own, but tend to get worse if left untreated. If you or a loved one suffer from mental health issues, seek treatment just as you would with a bone fracture, for example.
#3 Myth: People with Mental Health Issues Are Violent and Unpredictable
While a few mental health conditions can lead to violent, unpredictable behavior, the vast majority of people suffering from mental health issues are normal members of society, no more likely than anyone else to be violent or cause trouble. In fact, a lot of people with mental conditions are highly functional in society and won’t necessarily show symptoms on the outside.
#4 Myth: Mental Illness Is Incurable and Untreatable
Once someone has a mental health issue, they will always be like that, and they or the others have to live with it forever. This is a myth. There are plenty of treatments for mental health issues and countless medical studies showing their efficiency. Many people can recover completely from their mental health issues.
#5 Myth: Mental Health Issues Are Rare
Because many people with mental issues are highly functional, others are afraid of the stigma and don’t share their personal issues with everyone, or their issues are mislabeled, one of the most common myths is that mental health issues are rare.
Unfortunately, the prevalence of mental health issues is really high in the Western world, with 1 in 5 Americans having some kind of mental health problem in 2014. Here is more information on mental health illness in the US.
#6 Myth: People with Mental Illnesses Cannot Function Properly in Society
Another myth surrounding mental health issues is that it prevents people from holding a job or relationship, from parenting, or doing something seen as meaningful. In fact, a lot of patients suffering from a form of mental health issue are highly functional, productive, and valued members of their family, community, etc.
#7 Myth: Mental Health Issues Can’t Happen to You
Many people believe that only some individuals are predisposed to mental health issues and will get them in their life. The fact is that mental health issues can be triggered by your environment, and are not the sole result of a genetic predisposition. Anyone can have mental health issues at some point in their life, the important thing is to acknowledge and address it, just as we usually do with physical problems.
Do You Need to Find out More?
If you or a loved one need treatment for mental health issues of any kind, start by contacting a professional who can assess your situation and recommend the best course of action. Asking for help makes you strong and willing to get your life back to normal, which is the biggest step in any mental health treatment plan.