The first step to overcoming a mental health illness is to admit that you have a problem and seek help. However, the stigmas around mental health make it challenging for people to do so. These common mental health stigmas often lead to discrimination, bullying, judgment, and exclusion from your inner circle.
While society is more accepting and understanding of mental health issues in recent years, mental health stigmas still exist. The widespread misunderstanding, negative connotations, false information, and fear make it harmful to people suffering from mental health illnesses.
So in this article, I will debunk the 15 most common mental health stigmas and shed some light on this issue. But, before I start debunking these stigmas, I want to talk about overall mental health and provide mental health statistics.
Mental Health Stats
Mental health is not just an American concern; it’s a global public issue. Over the last decade, the number of people diagnosed with mental health issues multiplied.
- According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in every 20 American adults experiences mental health illness in a year.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death globally in people under 30 years old.
- Over 260 million people globally suffer from Depression.
- Anxiety was the most common illness in the world in 2018.
Mental health isn’t black or white. Instead, think of it as this overly complicated abstract figure that can come in any shape or form. Mental health disorders and symptoms vary from person to person, which sometimes makes it difficult for them to identify if they have a problem to begin with.
This is why people need to get educated and learn about mental health instead of listening to the mental health stigmas.
The Negative Impact of Mental Health Stigmas
Lots of people with mental health stigmas don’t seek professional help. More than often, they avoid and delay seeking treatment due to concerns about being feared, losing jobs, being judged, and unaccepted in society. That’s because stigmas on mental health are still very much a significant problem.
Mental health stigmas come from a lack of understanding, fear, and misrepresentation in the media. There are several types of stigmas which include:
- Public Stigma: The negative and discriminatory attitudes the general public has about mental illness.
- Self-Stigma: Internalized shame and negative attitudes from the people suffering from the condition.
- Institutional Stigma: Systemetiv and political policies limit the capabilities for people with mental health illnesses to seek or find resources.
These mental health stigmas directly affect people suffering from these illnesses and their loved ones. It’s always crucial for you to educate yourself and learn how to support someone with these conditions instead of isolating them.
Common Mental Health Stigmas
- Mental Health is Not Common: WRONG! Just because a person is smiling doesn’t mean they’re not going through something, and you shouldn’t assume. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death globally.
- It’s A Sign Of Weakness: Having these illnesses is not weak. It’s not the person‘s fault that they have this issue. Mental illness is just like any significant illness, and it’s not cool to blame the person.
- They’re Damaged Goods: People with mental health issues can work, play, and do anything just like a regular person would. They’re not “damaged,” they need help. It does not make them any less of a person.
- People With Depression Are Violent: The majority of mentally ill people are not violent. I’m fact, mentally ill people are more likely to be the victim of violence.
- Therapy Is A Waste Of Time: Therapy helps people sort out their emotions and is a lot better than someone deciding to take their life or someone else’s.
- All You Need Is A Pill: Yes, medication can help, but it doesn’t solve everything. You need the combination of a supportive system, therapy, and time to really overcome it.
- People With MH Illnesses Should be Ashamed: NO. People with mental health illnesses should not be ashamed. In fact, they should speak up about their experiences.
- Children and Teens Cannot Have Mental Health Illnesses: This is not true. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), suicide is the 3rd leading cause to people between 15-19 years old.
- People With MH Illnesses are Dangerous: People with these illnesses only make up 5% of most violent crimes. They’re more likely to become a victim.
- Everyone Has Mental Health issues: That doesn’t give you the right to dismiss someone else’s struggles.
- You Cannot Help People With Mental Health Illnesses: Yes, you can. All you have to do is listen and be there for them.
- Depressed People Are Just Dramatic: You don’t know what another person is going through or why they’re seeking help.
- Men Don’t Need Help: Everyone needs help once in a while. Mental health doesn’t discriminate on sex and gender.
- It’s Impossible To Prevent A Mental Health Problem: This is somewhat true. You cannot always prevent mental health illnesses. But, you can minimize the risk and be proactive, such as reducing stress and limiting a person’s exposure to their triggers.
- Mental Health Is Not Real: Yes, it is. No one wakes up one day and decides they want to die or that the world hates them. Mental health is a serious concern and should not be taken lightly in any circumstance.
Things to Consider
Mental health stigmas and discriminatory actions prevent people suffering from the illness and their loved ones from seeking professional help. They’re so worried about how family, friends, coworkers, and society will think of them, which results in them not seeking help. As their mental health illness gets worse, sometimes it leads to them tacking their own lives.
I encourage everyone dealing with mental health illnesses and their loved ones never to be afraid of seeking help. Nothing is embarrassing about having a mental health illness, and you should not be ashamed of it. Seeking help and educating yourself on the various mental health issues is the best way to protect you and someone else from harm.