Updated: Sep 14, 2020
Conversations around mental health have been going on since decades. The stigma attached to a mental illness is fueled by many misconceptions that are considered to be true. A myth is a falsely held belief or idea. Debunking such myths around mental health is important in order to create access to mental health care. Following are some popular mental health myths and their busters.
Myth 01: Visiting a psychologist implies that one is “Crazy”.
Fact: Seeing a psychologist is not “insane” or “crazy”. Having difficulties in dealing with problems at some point in life is totally humane. Seeking therapy from mental health experts helps in coping up with the issues better and motivates an individual to live an emotionally healthy, positive and a happy life.
Myth 02: Children do not experience mental illnesses.
Fact: Most parents refuse to accept that their child may be mentally ill out of fear, embarrassment or social stigma. Children have their own way of expressing emotions. They exhibit it by associating it with a physical pain like headache or a stomach ache.
Myth 03: Psychologists can read minds.
Fact: Psychologists are normal people who are trained in assessment and diagnosis of mental illnesses to provide therapy and interventions. They use scientific techniques to help their clients in bringing a change in their behaviors and coping up with stressors. They are not mind readers or magicians.
Myth 04: Attempting suicide is a result of impulsiveness.
Fact: It is a myth that suicide is usually an impulsive decision or that it happens in just a spur of the moment. People who are contemplating suicide give many clear warning signals which indicate their feelings of helplessness. Giving a person an environment to be able to discuss his/her feelings can help in releasing their pent-up negative emotions and can go a long way in preventing suicide attempts.
Myth 05: Mental illness is a sign of personal weakness.
Fact: Experiencing mental illness is not one’s fault. Mental illnesses are due to combination of environmental and biological factors along with his/her past experiences. It is absolutely okay to identify mental health issues. Help is available.
Myth 06: Seeking help is a sign of weakness and self-inadequacy.
Fact: Asking for help after acknowledging that everything isn’t going fine, is actually a sign of immense courage and ownership to maintain a good psychological being. It is absolutely fine and normal to seek help just as going to the doctor for physical ailments.
Myth 07: Mental illnesses are permanent.
Fact: People recover from mental health issues by seeking professional help, a right treatment plan and support from loved ones. Remember to not give up. Even slightest of progress is good enough!
Myth 08: “I can do nothing to help someone with mental health problems”.
Fact: An individual dealing with mental health issues, would always feel better and important when approached by friends / family. You can support the individual by being an empathetic listener, encouraging them to express, keep a check on them, motivate their journey and lastly to support them to seek professional help.
Mental health includes our social, emotional and cognitive well being. Having the right information about mental health, spreading awareness about it and talking about it openly can contribute in a mentally, emotionally and socially strong community. Hence, Let us reach out without any hesitance!
By Ms. Vidhi Chanpura
She is a nature enthusiast pursuing her second year in Psychology Majors. She is fascinated by the mysteries and magics of the mind and is keen to connect with people about it through her write ups.
Dhakephalkar, N. (2020). Mental health myths. Referred from https://www.centerformentalhealth.in/mental-health-myths/
Nayar, A. (2015). 7 common myths about mental illnesses that India needs to reject. Referred from https://www.huffingtonpost.in/2015/10/10/myths-mental-illnesses-in_n_8267770.html
Shukla, A. (2019).10 myths debunked to clear your doubts about when to seek help. Referred from https://www.indiatoday.in/science/story/10-mental-health-myths-debunked-to-clear-your-doubts-about-when-to-seek-help-1453398-2019-02-11