At the Quell Foundation, our goal is to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health while educating the community about the misconceptions and myths that are often associated with this subject. In this blog, we will uncover and debunk 5 mental health myths.
Myth 1: Mental health challenges are a sign of weakness.
Fact: In no way are mental health challenges a sign of weakness. Mental health conditions are medical conditions that can affect anyone regardless of strength, intelligence, or resilience. Many factors can contribute to mental health challenges, including but not limited to, environmental stress, biological factors, experiencing trauma or neglect, isolation, bereavement, etc. Being diagnosed with a mental health challenge does not mean that someone has a character flaw.
Myth 2: All people with mental health challenges are “crazy” and/or dangerous.
Fact: The majority of individuals living with a diagnosis are not “crazy,” violent, or dangerous. Labeling all people with a mental health diagnosis as unwell or unsafe is an unfair generalization. Actually, according to SAMHSA, people with mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of a violent crime than the general population. While the severity of symptoms varies, most people with a mental health diagnosis lead productive and fulfilling lives- especially if they receive proper support and treatment.
Myth 3: Mental health problems go away with time- they are just a “phase.”
Fact: While some emotional ups and downs are a normal part of life, conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and others are not just a phase. Just like any other physical health issue, mental health conditions require proper attention and treatment. Just as ignoring a broken leg or heart pain can cause extreme repercussions, so too can ignoring symptoms of a possible mental illness. Self-awareness and acknowledging a need for treatment can improve one’s outcome.
Myth 4: Children don’t experience mental health challenges.
Fact: Mental illness can affect people of all ages, including children. In 2016, 16.5% of U.S. youth (7.7 million people) aged 6-17 experienced a mental health disorder (NAMI). Early detection and intervention are vital to support the child’s well-being. Some diagnoses can present early on in life, and without recognition and support there may be implications on the child’s academic performance, socialization, and more. It’s important to begin the conversation around mental health needs early on, to destigmatize the need for treatment, while ensuring the youth has the professional support needed.
Myth 5: Mental health problems only affect certain types of people
Fact: Mental illness impacts millions of Americans regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, social status, or other demographic factors. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. People who are exposed to adverse life experiences (ie poverty, violence, neglect, divorce, incarceration, etc), however, may be at greater risk. Being cognisant of this, it is important to treat everyone with compassion and kindness, while also recognizing that people of all cultures, religions, and walks of life may face stigmas and challenges on their journey to wellness.