I still remember that boy whom I used to see every evening while going to a park. He was different from all of us (all the kids who used to come to play). He was always accompanied by his mother, always wearing the same red shorts and blue Relaxo slippers. He used to behave differently, in a way which 5-6 years old couldn’t decipher and we labelled him with different names like stupid, idiot, dumb and mental. We were too young and didn’t know things and our elders they were too stereotypical and never bothered to stop us. Now when I look back I feel so ashamed of saying poor things to a kid and to his mother, a kid who was suffering from mental illness.
Soon after I realized that children also suffer from mental illness. Well this wasn’t the only myth which I had about mental illness.
Some other common myths about mental health are:
- Kids cannot have mental illness
Even children can have mental problems. In fact, half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14 years old. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other developmental needs. Well, I am glad that he had supportive parents and received the right support at the right time because less than 20% children who are diagnosed with mental illness receive proper treatment
- People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable:
The causes of violence are complicated. Researchers agree that mental illnesses are not a good predictor of violence. In fact, if we look at mental illnesses on their own, people who experience a mental illness are no more violent than people without a mental illness
- Everyone gets depressed as they grow older. It’s just part of the aging process
Depression is not a part of aging. Though, older people may have a high risk of depression as they go through so many changes. If an older adult goes into depression they need same support as anyone else
- People don’t recover from mental illnesses
People can and do recover from mental illness. This is not a permanent thing, on one can feel unwell forever. The truth is people with mental illness can work and lead a normal life. There are various therapies available for the same.
- Law of Attraction is only in movies
This is really hurtful to say to anyone. Although we need treatments and therapies to heal illnesses, however, until you fix up your thoughts you can’t fix your illnesses. Law of attraction has been witnessed by a lot of celebrities as well and is one of the main elements when it comes to Holistic Healing of a person.
- Therapy and self-help are a waste of time. Why bother when you can just take a pill?
Treatment for mental health problem varies. But in most of the cases, one can heal with therapies or with counseling sessions only. Many individuals work in a group in a therapy session which helps in faster recovery.
- Mental illnesses aren’t curable.
As a saying goes, prevention is better than cure one can be careful about mental health as well. In this case prevention would mean addressing the known risk factors such as exposures to trauma that can affect the chances of developing mental illness.
- People with mental health issues cannot tolerate the stress of holding down a job
It is often believed that people with mental health issues are not able to hold onto their jobs because of various stresses that they have in life which has scientifically been proven incorrect as people with mental health issues are as productive as other employees.
- All therapists are basically the same
Well, not liking all therapies or therapists is like saying you don’t like traveling because you had one bad experience. There are various techniques for therapies and before making any judgement, one should try to change their therapist.
- I can’t do anything for a person with a mental health problem.
Family and friends can make a huge difference. You can reach to your loved ones and help them with the right mental health treatments. You should assure them that you are available for any kind of help. Treat them with equal respect as you would treat anyone else
These are some major myths which most of us believe in, but just because we think something is like that don’t mean it is like that only. Changing attitudes and behaviors takes time, and it might seem like one person can’t possibly make a difference. But the truth is, we can. We all can find some small ways to help. If you know someone who shows signs of mental health issues do NOT hold back. You can reach out to us and we do HEAL