Author: Laura Frank, M.A.
Stigma, prejudice, and discrimination against individuals with mental illness is common in today’s society and can often cause individuals to avoid seeking help and support during times of distress. Dispelling common myths about mental health can help combat public stigma, raise awareness, and ultimately aid in the creation of a culture where individuals feel comfortable seeking help and support when they need it. Here are five common myths about mental health:
1. Myth: If a person has a mental health condition, it means the person has low intelligence.
Fact: Just like physical illness, mental illness can affect anyone regardless of their intelligence, social class, or income level.
2. Myth: A mental health condition is a sign of weakness; if the person were stronger, they would not have this condition.
Fact: Mental health conditions have nothing to do with being weak, a lack of willpower, or laziness. Just like physical illness, people do not choose to have mental health conditions, and anyone can develop one. In fact, recognizing the need for support and choosing to seek help takes strength and courage.
3. Myth: You only need to take care of your mental health if you have a mental health condition.
Fact: Just as everyone can take active steps to promote their physical health, everyone can benefit from taking care of their mental health.
4. Myth: Bad parenting causes mental health conditions in children and adolescents.
Fact: There are several factors that can influence the well-being of children and adolescents. Such factors include genetics, poverty, exposure to adverse events, and brain chemistry. Children and adolescents from loving, supporting homes can experience mental health concerns.
5. Myth: Individuals who are outgoing, have lots of friends, and are successful at work or school will not have mental health conditions.
Fact: Again, there are several factors that can influence mental health. These factors can be social, psychological, or biological in nature. Mental health conditions can affect anyone regardless of their intelligence, income level, or how good their life appears.
These five myths are just some of the common misconceptions about mental health.
For more mental health myths and misconceptions, you can check out the following link:
Unicef (2021). Busted: 7 myths about mental health. https://www.unicef.org/parenting/health/busted-7-myths-about-mental-healt