Mental Health Myths and Facts

By Ammara Syed

Mental Health Myths and Facts

There are many myths related to mental health which proves as a barrier in well being. The stereotypical notions in our society about mental health issues are spreading wrong.

So, the need of this time is to address ‘Sanism‘ (stigma about mental health illness) in order to spread awareness around the globe. An effort is put here to highlight the stigmas attached to mental health. And to provide the audience with factual knowledge about Mental Health myths and facts.

Real time existence

The myth about mental illnesses is that they are not considered as real-time illnesses, their existence is always in question. They are, either, completely denied as an illness or partially accepted with a misperception of mood swings.

Sometimes, the victim doesn’t cater to his depression as a mental illness and misinterprets it as mood swing, the fact is that depression is not regular ups and downs of mood but a real-time mental illness. Just like a patient who needs to be plastered after a bone fracture, a person with mental illness does need treatment.

Sometimes, the acknowledgement is denied by the patient him/herself because of the prevalent myth but sometimes people around the patient don’t address the issue. A person with fractured bone is never blamed for being ill but he/she is provided with effective treatment. So is the case for mentally ill people. Mental illness is a real-time illness which needs proper care and treatment.

Behavioural Domain

Mental Health Myths and Facts

The myth is that mentally ill people are violent, dangerous and unpredictable. The fact is that people with mental illness are really sensitive and productive beings of society.

This myth leads to a very serious and fatal action of isolating mentally ill people from the community which itself is a very unjustified act.

Researches have shown that mentally ill people are ten times more likely to be victimized rather than being assailant.

Yes, in extreme cases, violence becomes part of behaviors of mentally ill people but the percentage of that population ranges only from 3-5%. Generalization of this percentage is not a justice to the whole community of mentally ill people.

For instance, a depressed person is isolated because he/she is seen as a violent person who can burst out anytime violently.

The Notion Of Recovery

The stereotypical notion about mentally ill people is that they don’t recover. The fact is that they do recover and come up with coping strategies to become the best possible efficient and productive humans of society.

Many types of research have been done in the field of psychology which launched several effective treatments and cures of mental illnesses. People do recover and skillfully introduce themselves to societal contribution. People with long-term mental illness do cope with their symptoms, engage in different field works and thus become a productive individual of the society.

‘A Beautiful Mind’ is a movie based on a real-life story of a mathematician, who invents many great algebraic equations with his schizophrenia. These are the people who get treatment and cope with their symptoms and become the best contributors to society.

Strong or Weak?

There is another myth about mentally ill people that they are weak and can’t handle stress. The fact is that every individual is vulnerable to stress and it does impact well being but the reality is that people with mental illness are better at managing stress than people with no mental illness.

Mental Health Myths and Facts

They are more into learning stress management and problem solution before everything gets messed up in their lives. Knowing oneself when to ask for help and when to not, is a sign of strength, not a weakness.

Humans are born to help one another, taking care of needs and asking for help is a sign of courage, wisdom and strength, not weakness.

For instance, the therapeutic help in depression strengthens the mind to recover back and fight against the disease not to surrender in front of it.

Age-Dependent

The myth about mental illness is that children don’t have mental problems. The fact is that mental illness is not just limited to adults, it may appear differently in people of different age groups but it doesn’t mean that children are an exclusion.

Unfortunately, children’s issues are not addressed so it seemed that children don’t have issues regarding mental health. For instance, many children are diagnosed with Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder.

The disorder is not just limited to adults but children do experience an obsession with compulsory actions. A real-time example is that once a child was asking his mother to remove a paper lid of a chocolate cup. The lid was removed but a small piece was left over the brim of the cup.

Though the chocolate was fully exposed to him and could be easily eaten, the child was feeling the obsession of removing the small piece due to which he felt a compulsion of removing it before eating. This shows that the domain of mental illness is wider and diverse much more than just being restricted to adults. Mental health Myths and Facts

Vulnerability

Mental Health Myths and Facts

The myth is that depression is considered as a spouse of old age. Depression is stigmatized as a partner of old age but the fact is that depression is never a part of the ageing process.

Older people may have more risks and vulnerability for depression because of the changes which occur so rapidly and majorly due to seclusion, thanks to ‘Old Houses’. Depression is not supplementation of ageing, yes depression is more rated in old people because they are usually alone.

Old people living in families are happy and satisfied but those who are shifted to old homes or living alone are unable to overcome the need for social, familial life thus delving into depression.

These myths are to be eradicated from society because they are the real barriers in the way of mental well being. This can be done only by being aware of the real facts.

The change of attitudes and behaviors towards these myths can effectively create a positive impact on the well being of mentally ill people.

//Mental Health Myths and Facts

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