The World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that over 10% of the world’s population struggles with mental health illnesses. Nearly 20% of children and teenagers worldwide have a mental health disorder, and suicide rates are rising alarmingly. Mental health complications are burgeoning worldwide, resulting in 1 in 5 years of disability in an average lifespan.
Faced with such alarming, hair-raising statistics, it’s time we join hands to bust myths that discourage mental wellness and healing. Myths are problematic because they spread misinformation, denying people the support they need to heal and rebuild their lives. Myths encourage people to develop negative attitudes and prejudices towards the suffering of millions worldwide.
Let’s bust some age-old mental health myths with research-driven facts.
Myth#1: Mental health problems result from weak personalities, character flaws, and a lack of inner strength.
Even in this day and age of remarkable mental health awareness, millions regard mental health issues as personality or character flaws. They blame sufferers for lacking inner strength and having weak personalities that make people vulnerable to emotional challenges. People who hold such baseless beliefs encourage patients with severe mental health challenges to just “snap out of it” to recover.
Such beliefs stem from a lack of education and understanding of brain structure, functioning, and mental health illnesses. Mental health illnesses don’t develop from personality traits like emotional sensitivity or laziness.
Adverse life experiences, such as abuse or trauma, can also trigger the onset of mental disorders.
Interestingly, different causes demand distinct treatment options to help patients overcome their symptoms. For instance, biological causes need psychiatric medications and treatments, while adverse life experiences demand counseling or psychotherapy.
Many practitioners struggling with the counseling vs psychology debate should consider their core interests while finalizing career paths.
Suppose your interests lie in psychotherapy and helping patients with adverse life experiences find closure and resources to initiate self-healing. In that case, training as a counselor is an ideal career path to alleviate suffering with cognitive and behavioral therapies. However, professionals vying to work as part of interdisciplinary teams treating mental health disorders will need extensive psychological training.
Treating disorders like bipolar disorder, clinical depression, or schizophrenia demands professionals fulfill academic and licensure requirements. Depending on your core interests and clinical inclinations, you can train as a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Myth#2: Mental health challenges don’t plague children. They’re just faking it to seek attention.
Children may not understand their feelings, emotions, and mood fluctuations as comprehensively as adults, making their suffering much more unbearable.
In today’s world, children exhibit alarming signs of mental health complications at a very early stage. Research reveals that the age of onset for most mental health disorders, including schizophrenia, is 14. And most conditions begin compromising normal functioning before patients turn 24.
Some children manifest symptoms because of family history, genetic predispositions, social factors, or child abuse. Others experience mental health challenges because of biological characteristics and adverse life experiences.
Rising teen suicide rates and child depression have emerged as alarming epidemics demanding our full attention in today’s world.
Such problematic myths deny our children the compassion, sensitivity, and empathy they need to overcome adversity and emotional challenges. Denying children the treatment they need to heal and enjoy healthy development sets the stage for a lifelong disorder.
Myth#3: Patients diagnosed with mental health disorders are aggressive, violent, and erratic.
Another damaging myth encourages communities to form negative attitudes and prejudices against people with mental health disorders. Assuming that people with a mental health diagnosis are aggressive, unpredictable, and erratic is a baseless belief. Such beliefs spread fear, encouraging families and communities to distance themselves, isolating patients who need social interactions to heal.
Also, Check – Advantages of Becoming a Psychiatric Nurse
Significantly few mental health disorders are associated with violence and aggressive behaviors. In reality, people diagnosed with mental health illnesses are at a greater risk of being victims of aggression and violent crimes. It’s common for people to distance themselves from family or community members diagnosed with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
It’s interesting to note that people adopt such beliefs after the concerned person is diagnosed. Many people within our communities continue to flourish and thrive with undiagnosed mental health challenges. So, it’s safe to conclude that such prejudiced mindsets stem from the labeling and stigmas associated with a mental health diagnosis.
Myth#4: People with mental health complications do not make reliable and productive employees.
Have you ever wondered why people diagnosed with mental health illnesses struggle with unemployment, financial instability, and eventual homelessness? Contrary to popular belief, their unemployment isn’t caused by their inability to perform day-to-day responsibilities. But instead, it’s the prejudiced belief that people with mental health complications do not make good employees.
Businesses are quick and eager to abandon employees with mental health challenges or hesitate while hiring someone with a diagnosis. In reality, the discipline and routine of a job are incredibly helpful in managing symptoms and restoring normalcy. The peer interactions and self-actualization of having a profession also promote healing and mental wellness.
Myths are dangerous and damaging, for they govern our attitudes and mindsets towards people suffering the brunt of mental illness. These people need our kindness and compassion, but instead, they find nothing but judgment and stigmas. Those of us who are aware of the suffering have a responsibility to dismantle myths and promote mental health awareness.
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