Understanding the Myths and Facts about Mental Health & Illness

04 Oct 2019 #Mental health

Blog Image

Can you tell the difference between a mental health myth and fact?

Mental illness is still not well understood, often ignored, and considered a taboo. The picture of Mental Illness that has been painted in our minds has been a taboo far too ingrained in us to invest time in crosschecking its validity. The mentally ill, their families and relatives, as well as professionals providing specialized care, are still the object of stigmatization. These attitudes are deeply rooted in society. It is time we educate ourselves about mental illness and reduce stigma associated with it. To set aside the misconceptions about mental illness, Thatmate helps unfurl the truth about the common mental health myths and sheds light on the facts.

There are widely prevalent Myths about what causes mental illness; what people who have a mental illness are like; and about treatments for mental illnesses. Here’s how you can differentiate mental health Fact from Fiction:

Myth: Mental Illnesses aren’t real illnesses

Fact: Mental illnesses are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood or behaviour associated with significant impaired functioning. Mental illnesses are diagnosed by mental health professionals according to international standard classification of mental disorders. They are as real as any physical illness.

Myth: Children don't experience mental health problems.

Fact: Even young children may show early warning signs of mental health concerns. These mental health problems are often clinically diagnosable, and can be explained as a result of the biological, psychological or social factors.

Myth: People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.

Fact: Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3%–5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population.

Myth: People with poor mental health cannot hold down a job.

Fact: People with mental health problems are just as productive as other employees. They work well and stay motivated if they receive effective treatment.

Myth: Personality weakness or character flaws (Bad Karma) cause mental health problems.

Fact: Mental health problems have nothing to do with being lazy and weak or moral failing. It is a result of the interplay of biological, psychological and social factors.  

Myth: People with mental health problems can snap out of it if they try hard enough.

Fact: People need help to get better and it is not the individual’s will but medical attention that facilitates recovery.

Myth: There is no hope for people with mental health problems. They will never recover.

Fact: Studies show that people with mental health problems get better and many recover completely, adapting to work and actively participating in community. There are more treatments, services, and community support systems than ever before, and they work.

Myth: Therapy and self-help are a waste of time. Why bother when you can just take a pill?

Fact: Treatment for mental health problems varies depending on the individual and could include medication, therapy, or both. Medication often targets the internal physiological processes whereas therapy works on the emotional and cognitive processes of individuals.

Myth: I can't do anything for a person with a mental health problem.

Fact: Friends and family can be important influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need and provide support through the entire recovery process.

Myth: Prevention doesn't work. It is impossible to prevent mental illnesses.

Fact: Prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders can be attempted by identifying early warning signs and seeking early intervention, working on known risk factors and promoting the social-emotional well-being of individuals.

-By Ms. Asmita Dalvi