Busting Myths and Misconceptions Surrounding Mental Health


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Most of us are quite familiar with words such as mental health, mental illness, aren’t we? How many of us know what these words exactly mean? Not a lot. 

Most of us have a vague idea of these terms. So, for a quick overview, mental health is a person’s condition concerning their psychological and emotional well-being. On the other hand, mental illness is a health issue associated with changes in thoughts, emotions, behavior, and relationship with others. 

The world is progressing in every field and so are the people but this has also led to a massive increase in the mental health issues among people. The young generation is living its life on the virtual platform increasing the risks of problems like loneliness, anxiety, fatigue, etc. 

With this topic gaining immense limelight nowadays, let us have a look at a few misconceptions about mental illness:

1. Seeking Mental Health Assistance Is a Sign of Failure

There are a lot of stigmas surrounding the issue of mental health due to which even the most common cases of depression and anxiety are not reported. The burden of mental illness is highly underestimated because of the inadequate awareness and knowledge of the subject. In our country especially, these issues are considered to be a weakness. In fact, anyone suffering from a mental disorder is considered to be disabled or crazy and is often looked down upon. 

This has been persisting in our culture for years and with the major advancements in the world, it too needs to be eradicated. People need to be comfortable in sharing their thoughts, emotions, and problems which can be only possible if each human takes mental health as seriously as diseases like cancer, cardiac arrest, etc. Stigma and discrimination are negative consequences of ignorance and misinformation.

2. A Person With a Mental Illness Is Incapable of Doing a Job

Mental condition is not what one chooses to have, rather it comes naturally. It’s not in one’s hand to control how and what they feel. People with mental health issues are just as productive as others. It is usually considered that if one is depressed or anxious, he/she isn’t capable of functioning like every other person. 

In the United States, approximately one out of five adults are suffering from a mental issue, but has that stopped the country from growing? The answer is No! You can never compare the efficiency of a human being based on what their health is, it depends mostly on the will of the person. If they want, they will.

3. Individuals With Mental Illness Are Violent and Unpredictable

The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. You probably know someone with a mental health problem and don't even realize it. This is because many people with mental health problems are highly active and productive members of our communities. It is in fact noticed that people with mental health issues are more likely to be victims of violence. Further, no scientific study has found mental illness to affect the rate of violence. Such myths just deepen the stigma attached to this issue affecting both the patient as well as the doctor involved.

 4. Taking medications can affect your personality

Many individuals believe that if they take medicines for a certain period of time, it will eventually affect their personality. The actual fact states that these medications and drugs bring out your true personality which might have been altered due to some factors. It’s just that you need to find the right medication which will then do wonders to you without hindering your own personality. 

Some people also have a viewpoint that in the long term, you become addicted to these drugs, and instead of helping you improve, they deteriorate the health. This point is totally subjective, as it entirely depends on how the medication is provided. If it is not stopped on time, the overdose of these drugs can lead to a worsened health condition.

 5. Children Don’t Experience Mental Illness

It is a common myth that children are too young to experience mental illnesses or they just act in a certain way to gain attention. This kind of opinion leads to the child feeling secluded, silenced, and misunderstood. According to various studies, half of the mental disorders show signs even before a kid turns 14. These disorders need not be inherent but may also develop in a due course of time. 

Various factors like upbringing, home life, school life might affect a child’s health and must be taken into serious consideration. Especially nowadays, when kids are literally spending most of their time on the internet, not being able to meet friends in person, they need more attention. During this time, their mental and emotional health must be of utmost importance and not taken as a joke. 

Read more about Signs of Mental Illness among children

 6. Therapy and Self-Help Are a Waste of Time

Certain prescription drugs can surely help in overcoming mental illnesses, but nothing works as good as therapy and counseling. It sounds strange that a grave problem like this can be treated just by talking but it actually helps to fasten the treatment. It might not be solely useful for the treatment but self- care is oftentimes one of the true roads to combating the illness. Medications can be taken along with therapy but never instead of it. Anyone can take a pill and recover but what really helps is the environment, the will, and the support.

 7. Mental Health Problems Do Not Affect Me

Mental health affects all of us. It is one of the most common problems in today’s scenario. At some point in time, each of us has or will experience what the burden of mental health problems feel like. Problems like these do not discriminate and can happen to anyone and everyone. According to research, one in every ten young people suffers from depression. The world is witnessing a high death toll due to suicides which is nothing but a serious case of mental illness. 

If mental illnesses were treated with as much gravity as heart diseases and diabetes, perhaps we would decrease this unconscionable number of suicides through awareness and appropriate concern for the mental health of all people.

 Conclusion

Mental Illnesses are really common and treatable. They can happen to anyone regardless of age, gender, race, or income. With the increasing awareness, countries are taking mental health treatment into consideration and slowly pacing towards providing the citizens with the required help. These misconceptions might also slowly fade away from our culture and it is only possible when each and every citizen starts considering the gravity of this issue without making unnecessary judgments. It is important that we prevent societal constructs from framing people as “mental” or “crazy” for having an illness that is beyond their control. We, as individuals can change the world by taking one step at a time.

Mental Illness is not the only topic surrounded by myths and misconceptions. Topics like menstruation have been the same for ages. 

Read more about busting myths surrounding menstruation


Written By: Riya Garg

Edited By: Neha Kundu

 

 

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