Some people’s perceptions of mental health are filled with fallacies. We need to challenge misconceptions when we hear them and make space for open and honest discussions on mental health. Fortunately, there are lots of great people and organizations working on this topic. I’ll share you my views to contribute towards important and ongoing public discussions on mental health.
1. Mental health problems are generally known, and there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
Mental illness is not a rare disorder: one in every four-five citizens in the US has experienced a mental health problem, and the figures are similar in the UK. Most people are therefore either directly or indirectly affected by a mental health issue. It is important to acknowledge this and help remove the stigma which can unfortunately still be attached to talking openly about mental health.
2. Children are affected by mental health problems, as well as adults.
The harsh reality is that one in every five children also have to grapple with some mental illness. Most mental illnesses show their signs at a young age. Depression begins at an early age. Eating disorders, depression, and anxiety have a 70 percent prevalence in childhood. This means that many adults suffering from this chronic illness start experiencing the symptoms at an early age. It is important to acknowledge the challenges children can face in their early years.
3. People with mental illness are not all aggressive.
There is a common belief that people suffering from cerebral illnesses are violent. Media and the general public have for a long time linked poor mental health to domestic violence, shootings, fights, and brawls. Statistics show that people without any mental illness are more involved in violent activities than those who have mental illness. Only about 3 to 5 percent of violent incidents in the US are related to victims of mental ill-health.
4. People can recuperate from their mental illness.
Mental health problems can be treated. Some conditions can be healed completely; others need to be managed over time. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, between 70 to 90 percent of mental disease patients experience relief after treatment.
5. You can offer help for people with mental health issues.
Saying that you can do nothing to help someone suffering from mental health issues is just a myth. Much can be done to improve mental health conditions. And people who have a mental illness need, and can value, the support of family and friends.
Share your views
Mental health issues are common, and unfortunately often misunderstood and stigmatized. It is important to challenge misconceptions and also make space for open and honest discussions about mental health. What do you think helps to create these open and accepting spaces? Please feel free to leave a comment below.