What is one of the fastest growing fields of study with groundbreaking research and decades worth of stigma to break? That’s right, it's mental health!
Our mental health consists of our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, and in turn, it affects how we think, feel, and act. Illnesses that arise within our mental health have been on the backburner for too long, resulting in conflicting information and years of misconception that make it hard for the truth about mental illness to seep into mass media. Here are some common myths debunked!
Myth: “If you have a good life you have nothing to be depressed about.”
Depression can arise for no reason that can be easily identified. It can result from a complex interaction of social, psychological, and biological factors, and can affect anyone regardless of their socioeconomic status or how “good” their life appears at face value. Plus, who are we to diagnose someone just based on how they look?
Myth: “Children don’t experience mental health issues.”
Early warning signs of mental health concerns may manifest even in young children. Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14-years-old, and three-quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24. Unfortunately, not enough children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health conditions receive the treatment they need. Early mental health support can be influential in helping a child before problems interfere with other developmental needs.
Myth: “Mental illness is a sign of weakness, for if one were stronger, they wouldn't have it.”
A mental health condition has nothing to do with being weak or lacking willpower. Anyone can develop a mental health condition, and recognizing the need to accept help for a mental health condition requires great strength and courage.
Myth: “There is no hope for people with mental health issues. Once someone develops a mental health condition, they will never recover, and developing an illness is inevitable.”
Although there is in fact no given cure for mental illness, there are more treatments, services, and community support systems than ever before that work to aid and relieve symptoms an individual may face in terms of school, work, and social environments. In addition, these treatments are also factors that can protect people from developing mental health conditions, like strengthening social and emotional skills, seeking help and support early on, etc. Otherwise, The ability to overcome adversity relies on a combination of protective factors, no environmental nor individual stressors alone will necessarily result in mental health problems, so taking protective measures may prevent or lessen the chance of developing a mental illness.
This list is in no way extensive. There are a plethora of myths that have and still need to be debunked. Remember to always scrutinize charged opinions about mental health and speak up when you know something is wrong. The first step to getting rid of the stigma around the importance of mental health is awareness!