Life is a series of unexpected events, experiences and bizarre encounters. Its especially bizarre when someone crosses your professional domain, thinking they know better and you be standing there thinking like ‘… umm, I have a degree for a reason, you know!’ Although it might be a reality for most of professionals but being a psychologist, we get that a lot and by ‘a lot’, I mean a LOT! One thing that we encounter the most in our practice is the people’s utmost belief that ‘getting married’ is the best treatment for curing a psychological illness. The most interesting thing is that they don’t know why. As a part of mental health professional where it’s our job to educate the family, we also need to address the myths regarding mental health issues in our culture.
Writing about the myths in our culture is making me feel like a cool journalist in a movie. So here are some common myths and a list of facts to help bust them!
- Myth: Only certain people have mental health problems
- Fact: That’s a common misunderstanding. As we can be vulnerable to any common medical illness, same is the truth for mental illness and problems. Their intensity and symptoms might vary from person to person but anyone can experience a mental health concern at any point of life.
- Myth: Children don’t suffer from mental health issues.
- Fact: Parents and Teachers usually believe that emotional problems like are just part of growing up. However, numerous psychiatric conditions, including depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety disorders, can and do occur in childhood. According to recent statistics in US, 1 in every 33 kids and 1 in every 8 teenagers suffer from depression.
- Myth: People with a mental illness lack intelligence.
- Fact: Intelligence has nothing to do with mental illnesses. On one hand, many people with mental disorders are brilliant, innovative and productive people. On the other hand, some people with mental disorders do face intellectual challenges. Overall, the level of intelligence among people with mental illness is somewhat same as the patterns seen in any healthy population.
- Myth: People with Mental Illness CANNOT get better!
- Fact: In the light of recent researches, numerous treatments for mental disorders are available, are practiced and promising results are obtained. Full recovery is attainable, and it may involve more than just treatments with drugs; it also may include being socially and physically active, because recovery means getting people back to ‘leading normal lives’ not just ‘treating the symptoms.’
- Myth: Self Harm is just an attempt of attention seeking, It should be ignored.
- Fact: Never! It should never be ignored. More chances are that it could be more of a cry for help than attention seeking. Talk to that person and encourage him/her to seek help.
- Myth: Drugs are the only effective treatment for mental illness.
- Fact: Recent research developments have many treatment options available for different disorders. The treatments may include counseling, behavioral therapies and
- Myth: All people with mental health concerns can’t work.
- Fact: People with mental illness can, and do function well in the workplace. They are unlikely to miss any more workdays because of their condition than people with a chronic physical condition such as diabetes or heart disease.
We breathe in our culture; we are born and raised around these misperceptions. It is really important to recognize the difference between facts and myths. Only then we can be one step closure to eradicate Stigma regarding mental illnesses.
Spread the word Myth busters! The destiny calls.