May is officially Mental Health Awareness Month so I wanted to write this article to #BreakTheStigma. Here is a list of seven myths debunked about mental illness.
1. Having a mental health issue is a sign of weakness
You are not weak for having a mental health issue and there are many factors as to why you may have mental illness such as genetics, traumatic experiences, and brain chemistry. And none of these factors are your fault. In fact, it is very brave and strong to admit you have an issue and to seek help.
2. People with mental illness are violent
Mental illness is actually very common and 1 in 5 adults in America experience some form of mental illness. So it is unlikely that 20% of America's population is violent.
In addition, many crimes are done by people without a mental illness. According to mentalhealth.gov, 3-5% of violent acts are don't by people with a series mental health.
3. People with a mental health issue will cause the next shooting
There is a strong narrative that people who cause shootings like Parkland, Las Vegas, and Sandy Hook, must have a mental illness because how else could that tragedy have happened? But it's easier to believe that someone with problems can cause this tragedy to happen.
But if you want to prevent a shooting, perpetuating the myth that mentally ill people are crazy and will cause the next shooting is not helpful. We need to have stricter gun laws and more security at schools and public events.
And if you are convinced that mentally ill people are the problem, then we need to help them get adequate treatment and break the stigma so they feel comfortable to talk to someone.
4. If you are depressed, you can just snap out of it
If it is that simple, there would be a lot fewer people with mental illness and depression. It would be nice if you can just think positively or pray to God or whatever.
But if you are suffering from a mental illness be sure to talk about it whether it's to a therapist or loved ones.
5. People with a mental illness will never get better
This is just not true. People with mental illness can always get better with therapy, medication, or with whatever else they need.
6. People with mental health issues can't tolerate stress
As mentioned before, it is estimated that 20% of the population have mental health issue, and I am sure that many of them lead stressful lives that they can tolerate. In addition, many people without a mental health issue often can't deal with the amount of stress in their lives as well.
7. Mental Illness is not a real illness
Of course, mental illness is a real illness that needs to be treated as such. It's like having cancer. There are ups and downs with cancer and it can be treated with medication. Mental illness is the same.