In light of May being a Mental Health Awareness month here in the Philippines, we at Bridges of Hope would like to shed light on some of the most common mental illness myths surrounding us.
These myths may seem harmless for most people. However, for some who are struggling with mental health issues or know of family members who have them, then it can be dangerous. This is why it’s important to bust these mental illness myths and instead present facts.
This said, let’s first ask: “What do you think of when the term ‘mental illness’ comes to mind?”
Do you think of a homeless, disheveled person in the street? A fidgeting person in an institution with unruly hair and bound by a straightjacket? Or do you think of an ordinary person like you and me?
While it’s true that mental health myths may have evolved from history, we have now new findings and research that prove many of our old beliefs are false. This is why it’s important to spread more awareness about mental health and dispell the myths surrounding them.
Mental Illness Myths Debunked
Let’s take a closer look at some of these most common myths:
- Myth 1: People with mental illness are unpredictable and aggressive. Mental health issues and mental illness in particular is portrayed this way in the media. Disheveled, homeless, chaotic, and violent, without consideration for norms or personal safety. However, it’s apparent that many people with mental illness are actually highly likely to be victim of violent crimes.
- Myth 2: People with mental illness are just doing it for attention. Many people think that those with mental illness just choose to be so, in order to get attention. Like it is a choice for them to be mentally ill. However, like someone with diabetes or cancer, those with mental illness don’t choose to have this disease, nor are they faking it.
- Myth 3: Therapy is a waste of money and time. Therapy is backed by science and evidence and has helped people. Treatment for mental health issues doesn’t happen overnight. While it is a disease, it’s not like a headache wherein you can take medicine once and it will get better. This is a long process that often takes years, if not a lifetime, of management.
- Myth 4: You can get better with medicine. Effective mental health illness can often require a combination of medicine and therapy. It depends on the illness and the person, which only a professional can then judge which is appropriate. This varies for everyone.
- Myth 5: Mental illness makes people unable to function on a daily basis. There are people with mental health issues who are in school, at work, and even doing a great job at it. The thing is, mental illness is something we can’t easily see or judge based on what a person does or how much money they have. You may even meet a person everyday who has mental health issues.