Mental illnesses have been greatly misunderstood in the past, and there is definitely a stigma around them. Some don’t like to be associated with those who have been diagnosed with one, or they see those with mental illness as weird or different, this just isn’t the case. It’s time to debunk some myths and misconceptions that have affected the way those with mental illness are treated and viewed, as well as how they view themselves.
Mental illness is uncommon
Although people may not be talking about it, mental illness is anything but uncommon. In fact, over a quarter of the American population are affected by a mental illness. People diagnosed with mental illnesses can lead normal, high functioning lives just like someone without a mental illness, which is why some might think that mental illness is less prevalent. That doesn’t mean it should be ignored, however.
Violent acts are common for people with mental illness
The truth is that the majority of people dealing with a mental illness do not have violent tendencies, and only a small percentage of violent crimes are committed by someone diagnosed with a mental illness. Even then it is not necessarily the illness that causes the violence. Those who were violent in the past and get diagnosed with a mental illness may still be violent, but not for that reason. Just because a person with a mental illness happens to commit a violent crime does not mean that there is a causational link.
Mental illness is not curable
This is only partially true. Many mental illnesses are never truly “cured,” but they can certainly be treated and kept in control. Dealing with a mental illness doesn’t have to be a lifelong struggle, and although symptoms may come up again, they can go away with treatment and counseling. For a majority of people with mental illness, you may not even know they have one.
People with mental illnesses like depression can get happier on their own if they just try
Sure, a person with depression can try to put on a happy face and pretend like everything is fine, but this is not a long term solution. It is not just a change of heart or attitude that will make depression and other mental health issues go away. People with serious depression often require medication, counseling, and emotional support, to help them to feel better. It can be insulting to tell someone with depression that they should just “be happy.”
People with mental illnesses are weird and should be avoided
This is possibly the most hurtful and harmful misconception about mental illness. It is more than likely that you have a close friend or relative dealing with a mental illness that you don’t even know about. Even when people are having a little more trouble dealing with a mental illness, the last thing they need is to be avoided. They need emotional support from loved ones to help them through.
We need to stop spreading these misconceptions about mental illness. It can make those who are suffering with one feel insecure, different, and possibly cause them to avoid treatment. Here’s a great article about how myths about mental illness affect one sufferer. Mental health isn’t something that people should take lightly, and treatment is important. If you think you may have a mental illness or would like counseling, come in to Corner Canyon Counseling today.