There are many myths surrounding mental health as there are with anything. Mental health is something that is close to my heart for many reasons and when people say something about mental health that isn’t true, then it doesn’t sit well with me. Here are the 10 most common mental health myths, that I’m going to debunk.
Mental health problems aren’t common.
Mental health problems are more common than you think. The statistic that is used is 1 in 4. 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem each year, according to Mind. For some people mental health problems may occur for a number of years.
2. You can’t have more than one mental health problem.
You can. I’m an example. I know many other people who have more than one mental health diagnosis. No mental health problem is worse than any other. All mental health problems are horrible. Having one mental health problem to content with is hard enough. Having two or more is double or triple the contention.
3. Young people can’t have mental health problems, it’s just hormones.
Young people can and do have mental health problems. Mental health problems can manifest themselves from adolescence or even childhood. I have personal experience of this from other family members. Just because you are “young” does not mean that you are “immune” to mental health problems.
4. People with mental health problems are unable to work or function in everyday life.
Mental health problems can affect your daily life to that point. But it isn’t true of every person. Mental health problems can range in severity. Some people can have limited function, some find it really difficult to function and others try to push through it, like me.
5. What goes on in your mind is easy to talk about.
This is a statement that I disagree with. When people ask if you are okay, you tend to respond with “I’m fine”. When you have a mental health problem, you have thoughts racing through your head that aren’t easy to talk about – they are irrational. People won’t believe them. And that’s the most difficult part. We have to legitimise what’s going on in our head. It isn’t easy because you can’t see what’s going on in our minds which is where people start pointing the ” faking” fingers!
6. Physical health and mental health get the same treatment.
This is by no means true even though I wish it was. Mental health is the poor cousin of physical health unfortunately. It has its fair share of stigma but in my opinion it is greater. Physical health can be seen better than mental health can, although there are “invisible” physical conditions.
7. Recovery is easy.
I’ve been told by many people including my closest loved ones to “stop worrying” and say “it’s fine”, but the reassurance doesn’t sink in. Recovery for me has been hard and a long road but I’m still not fully recovered yet. I never will be. I just have to manage my mental health. You can relapse which is something that has not happened to me but I get new symptoms and old ones fade. I’ve tried many things apart from medication but I know what helps me now.
8. Mental health only affects certain people.
Mental health problems can affect anyone and everyone irrespective of everything. It does not discriminate. To personify it, it chooses you. You do not choose it. Some lifestyle choices can impact but other factors can contribute that are out of your control like your biology and genetics and to some extent environmental factors.
9. Having a mental health problem means you are weak.
This is something that really upsets me. I am a resilient person. People with mental health problems are not weak, we are in fact strong. We battle our minds everyday.
10. There is no stigma surrounding mental health.
If there wasn’t any stigma then I wouldn’t be writing this post. It’s as simple as that. Stigma has been around for many years and unfortunately it will remain that way for years to come. But we can minimise it. You just have by reading this post.