The Myths that Society Holds about Mental Illness

Every day, millions of Americans wrestle with mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other conditions. The difficulties they pose to relationships, jobs, and everyday activities can often be severe, but these individuals are perfectly capable of living full, productive, and enjoyable lives.

Individuals who have never experienced mental illness often hold misperceptions about what it is and how it affects those with various conditions. Stigma associated with mental health issues may cause people to treat others differently; worse, it may prevent sufferers from seeking mental health treatment out of fear of being “found out.”

When it comes to achieving equal treatment for all people, distinguishing myth from reality is a crucial part of eliminating ignorance and fostering understanding.

Fact vs. Fiction: Common Myths Surrounding Mental Illness

Myth: Depression, anxiety, and other conditions are all in a person’s head. They could “snap out” of it any time they want.

Fact: Although the causes of mental health issues often originate within the brain, this does not mean they can always control them. The causes may be genetic, chemical, or otherwise unrelated to the patient’s choices.

Myth: Mentally ill people are dangerous to others.

Fact: Individuals with mental conditions are no more likely than their healthy peers to cause harm to others. Unfortunately, they are more often the recipients of violent crimes than the ones who commit them.

Myth: Individuals with mental illnesses do not really have a medical condition. They are simply “crazy.”

Fact: Mental illness is no less a physiological condition than cancer or heart disease. Numerous studies have concluded mental illness has biological and genetic causes, which improve with proper treatment.

Myth: Mental illness only strikes certain types of people.

Fact: Some see mental illness as a “luxury” of the rich, while others believe it can only strike a certain age or gender. However, individuals of all ages, genders, races, income levels, and occupations are capable of developing mental illness.

Myth: The majority of individuals with mental illnesses are getting help.

Fact: Currently, only about 20 percent of those who need mental health treatment are receiving it. Income, lack of health coverage, fear of stigma, and simply not realizing they have a problem prevents the majority of sufferers from getting the help they need.

Myth: It is impossible to live a fulfilling life with mental illness.

Fact: Each day, people with mental illnesses are making a positive impact in the world around them. From historical figures like Abraham Lincoln and Michelangelo to modern celebrities like Halle Berry and Bruce Springsteen, these individuals have repeatedly proven that with treatment and determination, a mental health condition doesn’t have to stop you from leading a productive and happy life.

Knowing and Living the Truth of Mental Illness

At Bridges to Recovery, our passion for eliminating the stigmas and misunderstanding surrounding mental illness is equal only to our commitment to helping our patients recover. With specialized treatment options for a wide array of conditions, we seek to help each individual overcome the challenges they face and reclaim their lives.

If you or a loved one are ready to seek mental health treatment, reach out to us today to learn how we can help.