There are so many common myths about mental health that have been simply accepted as fact. Over time, many of us have worked to dispel these myths and misconceptions in order to help break the stigma surrounding mental illness. I, and many others, want to create a world where everyone feels comfortable seeking out support and help when they need it. To do this, we must continue to address these myths and work to spread the facts about mental health. I’m here today to go over 5 of the most common misconceptions I have seen regarding mental health:
- Mental Illness Isn’t Real
- You Only Need to Take Care of Your Mental Health If You Have a Mental Illness
- If You Have a Mental Illness, You Just Need to Try Harder to Feel Better
- People With Mental Illness Are Violent
- Playing Video Games Leads to Mental Health Issues
Mental Illness Isn’t Real
Despite an increase in education and a reduction in the stigma surrounding mental health in recent years, there are shockingly still people out there who believe these conditions are not real. No one chooses to have a mental illness, but we have them nonetheless. They should be taken just as seriously as physical illnesses and disorders. Just because you cannot see the symptoms of mental illness does not mean they are not there. If someone lets you know they are suffering from a mental illness, it is not your place to question their diagnosis. All you should do is be kind and understanding. Mental illness is very real.
You Only Need to Take Care of Your Mental Health If You Have a Mental Illness
Even those who acknowledge the existence of mental illness still fall short when it comes to understanding mental health care. Just because you are not currently suffering from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or any other mental illness, does not mean you should neglect your own mental health care. Every single person can benefit from taking care of their mental health, just as everyone should care for their physical health.
Even if you do not currently suffer from a mental illness, proactive mental health care can reduce your risk of developing one in the future. Mental health care can include the typical things we think of, like support groups and therapy, but there is more to it. You can also practice regular self care or even take classes on building stronger relationships and changing unhealthy thinking.
If You Have a Mental Illness, You Just Need to Try Harder to Feel Better
Just like any other illness, you cannot just will mental health issues away. Depending on your diagnosis, you may have to learn coping mechanisms to help you learn to live a healthier life with your illness, or in some cases you can utilize resources to completely recover. No matter what, overcoming mental illness takes a lot of hard work, energy, and time, which many people may not have available based on their circumstances in life.
People With Mental Illness Are Violent
There have been countless instances, historic and present, in which someone commits a heinous act of violence and everyone is quick to chalk it up to mental illness rather than societal failures, poor upbringing, or even just a bad person doing a bad thing. These assumptions prolong the false and harmful stereotype that anyone with mental illness is predisposed to being more violent than someone without. Countless studies have proven that people with mental health issues are at no greater risk of being violent than anyone else.
Playing Video Games Leads to Mental Health Issues
As an avid gamer and someone who suffers from mental illness, I obviously had to address this prevalent myth. Throughout the years, many parents and other guardians have tried to blame the mental health struggles and violent outbursts of their children on the video games they play. This has been debunked many times. Playing video games, even violent ones, shows no link to aggression or mental illness. In fact, it appears the opposite may be true. There are many instances in which video games can be used to alleviate many symptoms in those struggling with mental illness.
Conclusion: Common Myths About Mental Health
Mental health conditions are far more common than a lot of people realize. Just in the USA, 1 in 5 adults is said to experience mental illness at some point in their life. In order for us all to be able to live happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives, we must work together to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health. The first step in doing this is recognizing these myths about mental health and spreading awareness.
I know I certainly did not tackle every single myth and misconception about mental health out there. To help educate and spread awareness, please feel free to leave a comment below with any myths you can think of!