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Mental health isn’t just a problem that affects the person suffering from it. It’s a plague on society that we need to get rid of as soon as possible. With roughly one-fifth of Americans suffering from some form of mental health disorder, you can see that just how imperative it is to tackle the problem before it increases. And believe us when we say that the less we do anything about it, the quicker the problem can snowball.

6 Myths About Mental Health Problems

The phrase “mental health” has been somewhat buzzwordy as of late. You’ve probably heard co-workers say they need to take a few days off to deal with their mental well-being. Are our co-workers leaving for a day or two to really recharge, or are they just lazy? Below, we’ll go over the myths and misconceptions that many people—probably yourself included—believe about mental health.

Myth 1 – It’s not a real problem

We’ve been hearing more and more cases about people experiencing mental illness only after the COVID-19 pandemic. Is this some sort of made-up condition in people’s minds to get out of attending Zoom meetings?  

On the contrary. We’ve been hearing more about mental distress cases because the COVID-19 pandemic has made it a bigger problem. Imagine being cooped indoors all day with no one to interact with. It was unhealthy to self-isolate before the pandemic, and it’s unhealthy now. Because we’re forced to stay indoors all day, we have nowhere to release our pent-up frustrations. They say you shouldn’t take your work home with you, but what do you do when your home is your office?

Myth 2 – It’s a sign of weakness

There’s nothing that should infuriate you more than hearing that people with mental health problems are “weak-minded individuals” with little self-control and want to be the center of attention.

This is the sort of stigmatization that we’re trying to get rid of. If that really were the case, then why are there so many highly successful individuals on the mental health spectrum? Everyone is susceptible to mental illness, from elementary-grade students to CEOs.

Myth 3 – It’s permanent

Myths surrounding mental health problems range from one extreme to the other. Some argue that mental illness is a sign of weakness, while others claim that it’s an incurable condition you’re destined to live with.

Thankfully, neither of these arguments is true, to a certain extent. Some mental health diagnoses can be a “life sentence,” such as OCD and bipolar disorder. However, there are effective treatments for most types of mental disorders. For other conditions, like anxiety disorders or depression, can be treated with medication and exercise.

Myth 4 – Patients react in unpredictable ways

“Stay away from so and so, they have a mental disorder and can strike at any time!” Again, this comes from the stigmatization of mental health disorders. While some untreated mental illness patients can have violent episodes, the vast majority don’t.

In fact, violence may be a cause of mental health disorders, not a symptom. Odds are you know of at least one person who suffers from some sort of mental health problem without even realizing it.

Myth 5 – Medication is evil

The two most typical foundationless arguments against treating mental health disorders with medication are 1) they’re simply bad, and 2) “happy pills” are the easy way out since you can snap out of it if you really want to.

For some patients, medicine is just as necessary as insulin shots are to a diabetic. Medication can mean the difference between being a productive member of society or spontaneous, erratic behavior. Even though there are DIY treatments, such as traveling to peaceful places (Costa Rica, Barmouth, and Switzerland), cases are handled individually. There is no blanket solution for all mental health disorders on the spectrum.

Myth 6 – You can’t help anyone with mental health problems

What can you do to help friends, families, and co-workers with mental health problems? After all, you’re not a doctor, nor are you a therapist. If someone suffers from mental health problems, it’s their problem to deal with, not yours.

This is incorrect. We’re not asking you to diagnose your friends with mental health disorders, but there are several things you can do to ease those who suffer from them. You can point them in the right direction to seek treatment, you can ask them to join you during your biweekly yoga or pickup basketball games. Heck, you can just be around them to lend an ear to listen when they’re feeling down. But please remember that your mental health is just as important as everyone else’s. Make sure you’re in the right state of mind before you begin offering services to others.

Final Thoughts

The myths we discussed above are just the tip of the iceberg. We can go on and on about the various myths surrounding mental health, but you should get the picture by now. Basically, not everything you read or hear about mental health disorders is factual, so make sure you’re knowledgeable in the subject before you dismiss a family member’s cry for help as a cry for attention.