mental health myths

6 Myths About Mental Health

With so many stigmas associated with race and sex still around in the modern, the stigmatism around mental health is also something that is, unfortunately, widespread. It even has a name: “sanism” is a form of discrimination or oppression relating to mental illness. Anybody experiencing some sort of mental health disorder of any level can find themselves open to recriminations if they are brave enough to speak up about it. But it is vital that we learn to educate others on the sheer misinformation relating to mental health. Here are six myths about mental health that we need to debunk.

Having a Mental Health Disorder Means You Are “Crazy”

Mental illness comes in a number of levels, from mild to extreme, and with each level, there comes a variety of conditions from mild depression through to borderline personality disorder or schizophrenia. The fact is that having a mental illness does not mean you are “crazy.” Mental illness comes with challenging symptoms like any other illness, and mental illness is, as the word suggests, an illness. An illness is something that can be experienced physically, mentally, or emotionally. Mental illness has the potential to alter someone’s thinking patterns and change the perception of reality, but this doesn’t mean the person experiencing mental illness is “crazy.” We are all susceptible to illness and sickness, so we are all susceptible to experiencing a mental health illness.

People With Mental Health Disorders Are Violent or Dangerous

Another very dangerous perception of mental health relates to the number of people labeled as “mentally disturbed,” especially in relation to violent crimes. It’s a very dangerous thing to label someone with a mental health disorder as having the potential to inflict danger along the lines of murder. In fact, only 5% of violent crimes in the US are committed by people with serious mental illness. This leaves 95% of all violent crimes being perpetrated by people who are classed as not having a mental illness, which is a very important distinction.

PTSD Only Affects People in the Military

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) gained a lot of attention in the press because of the Gulf and Iraq wars. But PTSD is not just something someone will experience due to the atrocities of war. PTSD is when someone experiences flashbacks of an event that was traumatic. Symptoms could include nightmares, anxiety, flashbacks, and reacting as if the event is recurring. As the name suggests, PTSD relates to an event, not something that is purely experienced by the military.

People With Bipolar Disorder Are “Moody”

Bipolar disorder causes an individual to have episodes of extreme highs and depressive lows. From high energy to grandiose ideas to the opposite end of the spectrum, such as feeling very low or suicidal. Bipolar disorder does not cause mood swings; bipolar disorder causes cycles or episodes that could last for weeks or months. Describing someone as bipolar because they have mood swings is incredibly offensive to those who are experiencing bipolar disorder. This downplays the seriousness of the condition, but it also creates a lot of misinformation about what bipolar disorder is.

Psychiatric Medications Are Bad

Medications used for psychiatric conditions have sometimes been labeled as “happy pills” or even “a simple way out” for those who experience mental illness to avoid dealing with their issues. Mental illness is an illness, and much like diabetes or asthma, symptoms can be controlled with the right dosage of medication. For some people experiencing mental illness, medication is essential for their survival. For those who have mental health illnesses, such as ADHD or depression, medication can reduce the symptoms to help that individual function normally.

Seeking Help for a Mental Health Disorder Will Lead to Being Judged

People can be quick to judge, and when someone is feeling the symptoms of a mental health illness, they can worry about speaking out because of the fact that it is greatly misunderstood. But in order to facilitate any form of change, it’s important for the individual to be honest and state, at least to themselves, that they have been strong for long enough and need to seek support. Mental illness can be misunderstood in certain circles, and some people believe that people who experience mental illness should only experience it because of a “real” reason, like a traumatic incident. The fact is that mental illness is not something that is purely environmental or arises from an incident but can be an illness that arises from supplementary conditions such as addiction. 

Reach out to Peaks Recovery

It’s so important to remember that reaching out for help is not a thing to be ashamed of. This is why reaching out to support like Peaks Recovery can give the individual the support to help them with their illness but it also gives them the power to start altering other people’s perceptions of the conditions and reduce the stigma in the process.