There are a lot of popular myths about mental illness out there, and most of them aren’t true. Because they might feel guilty or uncomfortable, people often tend to misunderstand other people who suffer from a mental illness. Due to all the stereotypes and prejudices associated with mental illness nowadays, people who do suffer from this kind of disorder are discriminated against, based on a few popular myths about mental illness that aren’t even true. You can change that by learning about these myths about mental illness that are actually false, and by spreading your knowledge among your friends, family and colleagues.
1. There Isn’t Any Hope for Someone Who Suffers from a Mental Illness
One of the most popular myths about mental illness is the common belief that there isn’t any hope left for a person who suffers from a mental illness. This couldn’t be more wrong! There are a lot of treatments, strategies and support for people with mental disorders. Even more, due to all the recent discoveries, they can live a happy fulfilled life just like any other person would.
2. Most People Who Suffer from a Mental Illness Can’t Work
This is another one of the most common myths about mental illness that couldn’t be more wrong. The truth is that it’s actually extremely beneficial for the people who suffer from a mental disorder to be able to work. By working, they could get well sooner, they can focus on something else rather than on the symptoms of their disease, they can regain their self-esteem, they can improve their social skills, they can earn some money to support themselves and they can be independent.
3. People Who Suffer from a Mental Illness Are Violent
People tend to be afraid of the people who suffer from a mental disorder because they tend to fear for their safety, believing that those people might be violent and could hurt them. Research actually shows the fact that people who suffer from a mental illness aren’t in fact more dangerous than the healthy people from the same population. Less than 3% of the patients who suffer from a mental illness can be violent if they don’t follow a treatment plan or if they don’t take their medication.
4. People Who Suffer from a Mental Illness Should Be Kept in Hospitals
Recent research has shown the fact that by integrating the mentally ill in society and by treating them in a friendly atmosphere, you could obtain undoubtedly better results in terms of their clinical outcomes and the improvement of the quality of their life than keeping them committed in psychiatry hospitals all the time.
5. I Can’t do Anything for Someone Who Suffers from a Mental Disorder
That statement and belief couldn’t be more wrong! There are a lot of things you can do for someone who suffers from a mental illness. You can start by being informed, by fighting against the stereotypes and prejudices associated with mental illnesses, and if you have the time, you can even do some volunteering for different organizations that help people who suffer from a mental disorder get back on their feet. There’s plenty to choose from, the important thing is to take a stand.
6. Mental Illnesses Never Heal
This is another one of the most popular common beliefs concerning mental illnesses that is completely false. In some cases, mental illnesses are completely healed due to some very efficient therapies and some very skilled therapists. During their lifetime, a lot of people can suffer from a certain type of metal disorder, more or less serious, like OCD, depression, or anxiety. While some of those people can completely recover from those disorders, for others, those illnesses are lifelong and chronic, and it's only with great dedication, medication, and therapy that these can be somewhat healed and managed, though never "cured."
7. People Who Suffer from a Mental Disorder Are Retarded
This is another very popular and offensive belief regarding the people who suffer from a mental disorder, belief that can cause a lot of stereotypes and prejudices and which is in fact, false. Mental retardation is actually a general learning disability or an intellectual disability that appears before adulthood and is characterized by significantly impaired cognitive functioning and deficits in two or more adaptive behaviors. On the other hand, mental illnesses can appear in adolescence or in early adulthood and can affect everybody, not just the people who suffer from an intellectual disability.
8. Mental Illnesses Are Contagious
Even if it may be hard to believe, the fear of mental illnesses that are perceived as being contagious is extremely widespread and common in the entire world nowadays. The people who believe such a thing don’t know that a mental illness is actually caused by a malfunction of a person’s psyche and that this kind of disease is never transmitted to other people because obviously, it couldn’t be possible.
9. Prison is the Right Place for the Mentally Ill
This is such a harsh, full of hate and of course, untrue common belief! Research actually shows the fact that the people who suffer from a mental illness are not a threat to society and they aren’t in fact violent, unless they’re being treated with violence or they’re getting a lot of restrictions without respecting their rights.
There are too many stereotypes, prejudices and extremely popular myths out there about mental illnesses that aren’t actually true! Have you heard any false beliefs about the mentally ill? What do you do in order to help those people who discriminate see the actual truth about mental illnesses? Please, share your experiences and your opinions with me!