Mental Health Misconceptions
No one is comfortable talking about mental health problems. Even people who are diagnosed with disorders or illnesses avoid opening up about their condition for fear of being judged, criticized, or disliked. As we move forward to diversity, equality, and compassion, learning to be more accepting and understanding of people with mental health issues is one step in debunking some mental health misconceptions.
1. Mental health problems are rare.
It is inconceivable for others that many people struggle with mental health problems. Because mental health problems are not visible physically, it is easy to think that they are uncommon. This is a wrong notion. It is not as rare as you think they are.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in every 8 people in the world suffers from a mental disorder. In the United States, 21% of adults, or 1 in every 5 adults live with mental illness in 2020. WHO explained that mental health disorders are among the leading causes of illness and disability.
2. People with mental health issues are weak.
This is one of the most common mental health conceptions. Having mental health issues and depression symptoms are not signs of weakness. They do not solely happen to vulnerable and fragile people. Mental disorders are like medical conditions like diabetes or heart disease. They are caused by several factors such as genetics, environment, or traumatic experiences.
Remember that it takes an incredible level of strength and willpower to face life every day for those who are battling mental health problems. No one should have the right to define them as people with poor character.
3. Mental health problems do not affect teenagers. It is just their hormones acting up wildly.
Mental health conditions can happen to children and teenagers, too. Teenagers, particularly, have mood swings because of hormonal fluctuations. Most parents do not view the changing moods and behavior as depression symptoms. For them, they are acting like normal, moody teenagers. This is why it is hard to detect if they are struggling with a mental health condition.
Approximately 2.7 million children and 5.8 million children, aged 3 to 17 years old, suffer from depression and anxiety respectively. Among adolescents, aged 12 to 17 years old, 15.1% are battling with depression and 18.8% are seriously considering suicide.
4. All people with mental health conditions are crazy and dangerous.
This misconception is both insulting and damaging. It disregards the value of respect and altruism for people with mental health conditions. They are not a threat or crazy or violent. Their symptoms may vary but all of them only need help.
Some studies stated that “individuals with serious mental illness are 11 times more likely to be victims of a violent crime than the general public, and women with serious mental illness are more at risk than men.”
5. Only people with low intelligence are affected by mental health problems.
Mental health conditions and illnesses can affect anyone regardless of their intelligence, social status, religion, or income. There is no exact profile of who will be affected by mental conditions. Even people with exceptional careers, high intelligence, and solid-rock relationships can be susceptible.
One scary thing about mental health problems is you will never know who is suffering from them. Getting therapy near me is an effective way to combat it but sometimes you are overthrown with embarrassment and fear.
6. Eating disorders only happen to females.
Dealing with body positivity is always harder for the female population. Until now, there are still people who objectify women by their body shape or breast size. No wonder many women suffer from eating disorders just to achieve what society wants them to be. However, this holds true among men as well. They, too, have eating disorders.
“According to research, males currently account for 10–25% of all cases of anorexia and bulimia nervosa, as well as 25% of cases of binge eating disorders.”
7. People with mental health conditions cannot work and function in society.
This outdated mental health conception is a form of discrimination. Even people with mental conditions are given an opportunity to work and be successful. Yes, there are many with severe mental illness who choose not to work but there are more who are employed.
Having a stable job is good for people with mental health issues. They are surrounded by people who share the same interests as them. It is also beneficial for their well-being because at work they are productive, creative, and valuable.
8. Mental health conditions are permanent and cannot be treated.
Many think that having mental health conditions is a hopeless case. There are now so many kinds of treatments and medications available for those who are seeking help. Seeking therapy near me is an effective option for those who are looking for guidance and support.
Each one’s experience with mental health problems is different. But it does not mean that they are going to stay with you for life. Getting help as early as possible can help manage your symptoms and condition.
9. Only those who have no friends need to attend therapy.
Even the most sociable person in your work can experience mental health problems. No one is exempted because everyone deals with their issues differently. It always comes as a shock when you hear that your friendliest colleague commits suicide because of depression.
You can never tell who among your friends is struggling with depression symptoms. Or who among your family members is silently dealing with a traumatic experience?
10. Therapies are expensive and ineffective.
Many people with mental health problems refuse to seek therapy because they are costly and ineffective. Yes, some therapies that are expensive but they work and are helpful. If you want to get help, do your research first. There are places that offer free therapy near me and counseling sessions. You may also check in your workplace if they have a wellness program.