Common Mental Health Myths


Although mental health has begun to receive more recognition in recent years, many still believe in mental health myths. These mental health misconceptions spread misinformation and can make it difficult for those who need help to seek it. 

Unfortunately, there is still a significant stigma surrounding mental health conditions. A lot of this comes from myths about mental illness. However, the more informed we are, the more we can shed some stigma surrounding mental health conditions. 

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), mental health conditions affect 1 in 4 people at some point in their lives. One of the most common mental illnesses is depression, with more than 264 million people globally experiencing depression in 2017. A recent study revealed that the number of adults in the US experiencing depression has tripled during the Coronavirus pandemic

This article will share four common myths about mental illness and four facts about mental illness to bring some clarity to mental health. In addition, we will address some frequently asked questions and mental health misconceptions. 

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4 Mental Health Myths and Facts

Myth: Someone with a mental health illness is less intelligent.

Fact: Just like any health condition, mental illness can affect anyone, regardless of their intelligence, education level, social class, or income. 

Myth: Only people with mental health conditions must take care of their mental health. 

Fact: Everyone can engage with healthy habits and benefits from taking proactive action to increase their overall well-being, including their mental health. 

Myth: A mental health condition is a sign of weakness.

Fact: Your mental health has nothing to do with your strength or weakness. No one chooses whether to have a mental illness. Recognizing the need to seek and accept support for your mental health requires considerable bravery and strength.

Myth: Nothing can be done to stop people from developing mental health conditions. 

Fact: Many factors can help to protect you from developing mental health conditions: ensuring you get enough sleep, having a strong and supportive network around you, seeking help and support early on, etc.  Environmental or personal stressors alone won’t necessarily lead to mental illness, and a variety of protective factors and proactive, healthy habits can go a long way in preventing mental illness. 

Does Mental Illness Go Away?

A mental health condition diagnosis isn’t necessarily permanent, and everyone’s experience with mental illness is different. Some individuals may experience episodes of their mental health while others may feel largely in control. And some may utilize treatment, such as medication or therapy, to manage their mental health. 

According to Mental Health America, recovery is a journey and isn’t just about getting better but having a satisfying life. The journey to recovery for some will have ups and downs. 

What Mental Illnesses Can Be Inherited? 

Some studies have found that certain mental health conditions, such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia, can run in the family. However, researchers still do not fully understand what causes mental illness or why it seems to be genetic. Just because a family member has a mental health condition doesn’t mean that you or anyone else in your family will experience that health condition too. 

What Mental Illnesses Are the Most Stigmatized?

Three of the most stigmatized mental illnesses are schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder, and borderline personality disorder (BPD). Mental health misconceptions also most commonly impact these three conditions. For example, those living with schizophrenia are thought to be more violent than those unaffected by schizophrenia. However, those living with schizophrenia are more likely to be the victims of violence than to perpetrate violence.

Mental health conditions are common and impact us all differently, just like physical health conditions. But a variety of treatments are available, and it’s only by being aware of the facts that we can combat mental health myths together. 

If you’re concerned about your mental health, consider speaking with your doctor or healthcare provider. Treatment is available to support you, from talking therapy to medication. 

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