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8 Mental Health Myths

Updated: Feb 28, 2021

Facts Matter Backpack

As a society, we Americans haven’t exactly been the best at talking about our feelings and emotions. This unspoken resistance is one reason mental health stigma and discrimination continues to exist. Education is the key to reducing both discriminating views and over-all stigma which surrounds mental health.

This blog post is dedicated to debunking 8 common mental health myths.

Myth: People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.

Fact: The vast majority of people struggling with mental health problems are not violent. Only 3% - 5% of violent acts can be attributed to persons living with a serious mental health disorder. In fact, persons struggling with a mental health issue are 5 times more likely to be victims of a violent crime compared to the general population.

Odds are someone you know and care for is struggling with a mental health issue right now that you aren’t aware of because most people with mental health issues are productive members of their communities.

Myth: A person with a mental health diagnosis is damaged or weird.

Fact: Mental health does not change one’s value or worth. A person struggling with a mental health condition is no more damaged or weird than someone diagnosed with asthma, high blood pressure, lupus, heart disease or any other health condition.

Myth: Personal weakness and/or character flaws cause mental health issues.

Fact: Mental health problems have nothing to do with personal character flaws or being weak. There are many contributing factors to mental health including but certainly not limited to;

  • Biological factors: body and brain chemistry, hormones, physical illness or injury.

  • Life experiences: including childhood experiences, trauma, history of abuse or neglect and family history can also be factors.

Myth: Counseling and therapy are a waste of time. Why bother? Just take a pill.

Fact: The appropriate treatment for a mental health ailments varies depending on the individual and the issue. Research shows long term healing from emotional and mental health problems is often not solved by medications alone.

Case in point, medication can help manage symptoms associated with a mental health condition. Whereas, counseling and therapy can help get to the bottom of the underlying issues which frequently cause the symptoms. Counseling can also help a person develop tools to improve overall functioning.

Typically, an integrative approach of counseling coupled with psychotropic medications is the best course of action for long term wellness.

Myth: Mental health problems don't affect me or my family, period.

Fact: Mental health conditions, just like physical health conditions, are extremely common. One out of every four Americans experience a mental health issue at some point in his or her lifetime.

One in 10 children experience major depression. One in 24 Americans live with a serious mental illness such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Even if you’ve never experienced mental health issues, chances are someone in your family is navigating through life right now with an undiagnosed mental health condition.

Myth: There is no hope for a person with a mental health diagnosis. Once someone develops a mental health condition, he or she will never get well.

Fact: Research shows that with professional treatment most people struggling with a mental health condition to get better and many recover completely. Recovery in this sense refers to the idea in which a person is able to work, live, learn and be productive members of society while also being able to enjoy positive personal and professional relationships.