Myths About Mental Health
Research proves that even though we are living in a progressive age, mental illness is still a stigma, which tends to be more popular in rural areas than the urban. It is most important to understand the realities and break the myths of mental health. A few myths that people across the globe have believed for many years are listed below, along with their realities.
1. Myth - Mental Illnesses are rare.
Reality - The World Health Organization states that 25% of individuals show the symptoms of being diagnosed by a mental illness. However, the stigma, discrimination and lack of self-acceptance prevents the individual from wanting to seek treatment. Paraphrasing the same, it means that one out of four people in the population could be diagnosed with a mental health illness in their lifetime. This statistic is higher than the number of people getting cancer (which is one out of five for men and one out of 6 for women). This being said, mental health problems are definitely not rare, in fact, it is one of the most universally spread health issues.
2. Myth - It is shameful to disclose about a mental health illness.
Reality - As an individual, every person has a different journey in their life. Every human being faces challenges, heartbreaks, disgrace and failure. A story of one’s life CANNOT be compared with another’s because only you know what you’ve been through. After having this journey of ups and downs, it is understandable if someone faces an obstacle that they cannot pass. Sometimes, the negative parts of the life start to shadow the work you’re doing in the present making it seem unbearable. It is very important to be vocal about your thoughts, feelings, emotions, strengths and fears during this time. It is necessary to accept yourself and understand that every person has a different journey to self-development in order to grow and be able to reduce the sigma around sharing your mental health journey.
3. Myth - Children don't face mental health problems.
Reality - It is essential to note that mental illnesses can be caused by genetic factors and as well as environmental factors. Some mental illnesses can occur before the child has been born or during their birth which can cause neurobiological dysfunctions. Lack of oxygen during birth, mutation and physical damage to the fetus are some examples of how a child can be affected before birth. After being born, the child’s staring, babbling and responsiveness should be noticed as it serves as a sign. Often children can get hurt or fall on their heads causing seizures which can also affect the child’s mental health.
4. Myth - Mental Illness cannot be cured.
Reality- There are disorders which can be cured completely with the help of therapy and medications. However, there are a few disorders which show less progress even when the two treatment plans are combined. Doctors reduce the intensity and occurrences of certain thoughts and reinforces good thoughts to help the client improve. The goal of the doctors is to make sure that we recover and lead a happy and healthy life, and sometimes this could take more time than assumed, but it doesn’t mean that the treatment is not working.
5. Myth - Therapy is just advising.
Reality - Psychologists are trained to deal with all types of client. It requires immense knowledge to know how to talk with a client in such different situations to show them support and empathy. Therapists learn many different coping mechanisms and effective interventions which is different for every client. They formulate goals, learnings and progress after every session to help the client in a better way. Therefore, therapy is more than just advising the clients what to do and what not to do.
These were a few out of many myths which are very popular globally. It is important to educate ourselves and question such statements that are not backed up by research; it is equally important to explain the realities’ to people who do not consider it in order to reduce the stigma to help us step into a more welcoming future.
For more myths about mental health, explore the link below:
Shruti is a combination of half introvert and extrovert; cracking inappropriate jokes all the time. She loves trying different cuisines and dancing is her all time stress reliever. She is an aspiring psychologist who wants to work towards breaking the stigma and make a positive impact in others life. Instagram: @shrutiibagmar