There are so many misconceptions about mental health, from stigmas about mental illness to judgments about therapy. Despite the falsehoods surrounding these thoughts, they make it harder for those suffering from mental health disorders to seek and get the help they need. With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, now is the perfect time to debunk some of these myths! Keep reading for a closer look at five frequently believed misunderstandings about mental health, mental illness, and therapy.
Five Mental Health Myths
For today’s blog post, let’s consider five misconceptions about mental health and explore why each belief is incorrect.
It’s unusual for people to struggle with their mental health: This myth couldn’t be further from the truth. Over 450 million people worldwide suffer from mental health conditions. The World Health Organization estimates that one in four people globally will be impacted by a mental health condition at some point in their lives. Not surprisingly, a recent study concluded that the number of people suffering from depression tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic.
People with mental health issues cannot work or take care of themselves: While some people’s ability to complete daily tasks may be affected by mental illness, most sufferers are able to hold down a job, fulfill personal and familial responsibilities, and positively contribute to the world around them. Unfortunately, because sufferers often seem fine, it is sometimes difficult for their loved ones and close colleagues to know that they’re struggling.
It’s easy to treat mental health disorders with drugs alone: While medications can be helpful, they don’t work for everyone — and they certainly don’t work best alone. For lasting results, prescriptions should be used in conjunction with therapy, peer support groups, and self-help strategies. This all-inclusive approach better helps patients identify and eliminate lifestyle triggers that can worsen the illness.
People with mental illness are violent: Although stories of violent mental health sufferers often appear on the nightly news, most people with mental health disorders are nonviolent. When treated properly, an individual with mental health issues poses no increased threat to society. In truth, these people are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators of it.
Mental health problems are a sign of weakness: In fact, the opposite is true: It takes a lot of grit and personal strength to recognize and address an issue with your mental health. Therapy isn’t for the faint of heart! It’s important to know that a mental health condition is an illness, not a choice or character trait. For instance, someone with an eating disorder can’t instantly “fix themselves” any more than someone with high blood pressure or diabetes.
If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health, reach out to Dr. Kelli Malkasian, PsyD, CEDS at Coral Reef Counseling, and schedule a free consultation or telehealth appointment today.