What is the Stigma?
There are many misconceptions about mental health and those who suffer from mental illnesses. Unlike many physical illnesses like cancer, diabetes or cerebral palsy, most mental illness are invisible. Many suffering from depression or anxiety look normal therefore people are reluctant to believe that they need help. This stigma hurts people in ways that are impossible to measure. People fear what they do not know.
As a result:
• Many avoid seeking help
• In many cases, mental health cases get worse
• Those suffering tend to abuse substances
• Many become isolated, depressed and are at an increased risk of suicide
• They lose hope in our ability to recover
Myths About Mental Health
Myth #1:Mental Illness is just a phase, you’ll eventually “grow out of it”
If you’ve suffered from any mental illness, you know how it goes. You talk to someone and they’ll say things like: “Just get over it,” or “You need to move on.” It’s frustrating because they don’t understand! You can’t just get over it, your brain is supposed to be able to filter your emotions and process thoughts rationally, but sometimes it just doesn’t.
Myth #2: Adults shouldn’t suffer from mental illness.
Many people believe that only children deal with many illnesses and adults should be able to deal with anything. That’s not true! Mental illness in adults is not a sign of weakness.
Myth #3: People with a mental illness are violent and dangerous.
Reality: Most people with mental illness commonly suffer from depression or anxiety. They live normal lives but their feelings and behaviors negatively affect their day-to-day activities. Things like movies or television shows depict schizophrenics as violent or disturbed when actually they are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators.
Myth #4: According to NAMI, Mental Illness is not common.
Reality: It is much more common than you think. One in four adults in the United States- approximately 57.7 million Americans- experience a mental health disorder in a given year. So you shouldn’t feel bad. You are NOT alone.
Myth #5: People with a mental illness never get better.
Despite what you hear, TREATMENT WORKS! And the sooner you seek help, the better.
For more information:
National Institute of Mental Health
Erasing the Stigma of Mental Illness
National Alliance on Mental Illness