Dispelling the Myths about Mental Health
By: Sara Hanson, BSW
There are many myths about mental health that perpetuate a stigma and create barriers for those that would benefit from seeking care. Misconceptions, fear of judgement, and blame can make it difficult for anyone experiencing issues related to mental health to get the support they need from family, friends, and professionals. Understanding the facts can help you take important steps toward dispelling these myths and reducing the stigma.
Myth: Mental health conditions are uncommon.
Fact: One in five Americans experience mental illness sometime in their life and it affects people of all ages, races, income levels, and religions. Mental illness is a medical problem, and is one of the leading causes of disability in the United States.
Myth: Mental illness is caused by personal weakness.
Fact: Mental illness can be caused by environmental or biological factors, or a combination of both. Some people are more susceptible because they have a stressful job, difficult home life, or were the witness or victim of violence; while others may have a genetic predisposition. In any case, mental illness is not the fault of the person it afflicts.
Myth: You don’t need therapy. Just take a pill.
Fact: As with any major medical issue, there is no “one size fits all” approach to healing. While medication can help, it may not be the only treatment a person needs to feel better. Often the best outcomes are achieved through a combination of medication and psychotherapy.
Myth: People with mental health conditions are violent and dangerous.
Fact: Having a mental health condition does not make a person more likely to be violent or dangerous. The majority of people with mental health conditions are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Studies have shown that 1 in 4 individuals living with a mental health condition will be the victim of violence in any given year, and only 3%–5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals with a serious mental illness.
Myth: I can't do anything for a person with mental illness.
Fact: You can have a huge impact on the health of someone you think may be struggling. Only 44% of adults with diagnosable mental health conditions will get the treatment they need. Reaching out to let someone know you see a change in their behavior, that you are worried, and that you want to help can support them in taking the next step to recovery.
Behavioral Health Partners is brought to you by Well-U, offering eligible individuals mental health services for stress, anxiety, and depression. Our team of mental health professionals can accurately assess your symptoms and make recommendations for treatment. To schedule an intake appointment, give us a call at (585) 276-6900.
Keith Stein |