1. People with mental illnesses are “crazy”
If you’ve ever had a conversation with someone about mental illnesses, you’ve probably heard the word “crazy” thrown around like it’s an all-encompassing descriptor for people struggling with their mental health. “What’s the problem with that?” some might ask. Let’s consult with Webster. According to the dictionary, “crazy” is an adjective describing someone that is “mentally deranged, especially as manifested in a wild or aggressive way.” I don’t know about you, but the people I know that are struggling with mental illnesses don’t at all fit into this definition. Referring to people with mental illnesses as “crazy” is not productive; instead, it reinforces the idea that these people are dangerous and discourages people from getting help out of fear of being lumped into this stereotype.
2. Mental health is not as serious as physical health
If you broke your arm, you’d go to the hospital. Right? Shouldn’t the same rules apply for your mental health? Unfortunately, it’s all too common in our society to view mental health as a back-burner problem and avoid taking steps to take care of it. But the truth is, your mental health affects your day-to-day functioning just as much as your physical health and requires just as much work to keep it healthy. Much in the same way your body needs exercise and nutritious food, your mind needs to be treated too — in the form of self care and/or therapy!
Additionally, people are always wanting to frame physical health and mental health as two distinctly separate things, but it’s not true, you make up both parts! Your physical health and mental health play into each other in an infinite amount of ways, so taking care of one and not the other is not the way to go. Exercise, eat healthy, and practice self care — your body AND mind will thank you.
3. People with mental health issues are “weak”
Mental illnesses are caused by a variety of biological and environmental factors, so having mental health struggles doesn’t mean that someone is weak. This is one of the most pervasive myths about mental health and actively keeps people from getting help. If you ever encounter someone that feels like people with mental health issues are weak, tell them they’re flat out wrong! In fact, let them know it’s actually the opposite that is true. People struggling with mental health issues (and especially people seeking help for their mental health issues!) are incredibly strong and brave. It takes a lot of courage in today’s society to admit that you are struggling and need help and even more strength to take the steps to improve your life.
4. You can never “recover” from a mental illness
Come on, you think there would be a whole field dedicated to relieving mental health symptoms if it wasn’t possible?? Much like medical doctors, mental health professionals utilize treatment techniques that are backed by research to help clients alleviate their mental health symptoms and live happier, healthier lives. Doesn’t seem possible? Check the facts. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 60-80% of people who seek treatment for depression are able to successfully live their lives.
5. “I am the only one who feels this way”
If you’re struggling with mental health problems, it can be easy to feel like you’re completely alone. While it’s true that your experience is unique, you are surrounded by millions of people going through similar hardships. In fact, according to the World Health Organization,1 in 4 people worldwide will be affected by mental illness at some point in their lives — and too many of these people are suffering in silence. If this is you or someone you know, there’s no better time than right now to reach out for help. Fill out our appointment form to start your mental health journey at Acacia or look into other options nearby that will work for you!
Part of the reason why these myths are so pervasive is due to the fact that mental health has historically been left out of conversations in our society. Acacia aims to erase the stigma attached to mental health by starting these incredibly important conversations and having people share their lived experiences with mental illness and what their mental health journey has looked like. If you’d be interested in sharing your story on our blog and helping to create a culture where mental health isn’t associated with shame, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Let’s keep the conversation going!