3 Mental Health Myths: Break the stigma

Article author- Haleema Bawany

After centuries of ignorance and disregard, mental health is finally gaining the recognition it deserves. However, with this awareness comes the inevitable development of misconceptions and stigma against it. What’s frightening about this is that these myths aren’t just harmless rumors that can be easily overlooked, they’re so much more. These dangerous beliefs not only spread misinformation about mental health, but can also lead individuals to refuse to seek out the help they need. If we want our world to work towards combating mental health issues and finally freeing our society from its threatening grasp, it is imperative to debunk these myths so we can create a more understanding and compassionate world. In this article, we will explore and disprove 3 common myths surrounding mental health, and hopefully, work towards breaking down the stigma surrounding it one step at a time.

Myth 1: Children don’t experience mental health issues.

Fact: There’s this widespread, incorrect notion that kids are naturally happy all the time and are incapable of experiencing anything but positivity in their minds. However, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14-years-old, and three-quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24”. Even more concerning is the fact that “only half of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health conditions receive the treatment they need”. It’s truly saddening how much our society’s misunderstanding of mental health can lead to innocent children spending their early years in pain, just because the world refuses to believe their issues are real. We must face the facts and put our predisposed notions aside, so we can finally end this misconception once and for all.

Myth 2: People with mental health issues are violent.

Fact: This belief is not only false, but is also highly stigmatized and promotes a harmful stereotype of people with mental health issues. Research carried out by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reveals that “only 3%–5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness”. In fact, the opposite of this misconception is true, as “people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of a violent crime than the general population”. Now, it is true that certain mental illnesses can result in unpredictable behavior in a minority of cases, however the vast majority of individuals with mental health conditions are non-violent, posing no threat to others. It’s important that we break down this damaging misconception, so people with mental health issues can live in an accepting world.

Myth 3: Therapy is a waste of time.

Fact: There’s this misconception that therapy has no actual benefit, however this belief is simply not true. Therapy is an effective and essential part of mental health treatment, and has been proven multiple times to be helpful, as research consistently shows that therapy leads to huge improvements in one’s mental state. The American Academy of Family Physicians found that “70% to 90% of people reported an improvement in their symptoms” when therapy was a part of their treatment plan. Therapy provides people with coping mechanisms, support, and a safe space to explore their emotions, overall contributing to an improved mental state. It’s clear to see that therapy truly is an imperative part of overcoming mental health issues. 

Debunking myths and breaking down misconceptions surrounding mental health is an important step towards creating an accepting and empathetic society. We must understand that mental health issues can affect individuals of all ages, seeking treatment through therapy is highly effective, and violence is not a direct result of all mental health conditions. By pointing out misinformation and stating the facts, we can create a world where people feel comfortable seeking help and receiving the support they need for their mental well-being. It starts with us, because if we don’t stand up for people with mental health issues, who will?

Article author: Haleema Bawany

Haleema Bawany is a junior at Jordan High School with a passion for all things psychology! It is her dream to become a psychologist in the future so she can help people with mental health issues live life to their full potential!