Judged. Mocked. Discriminated.
These are what people with mental health struggles deal with every day because of stigma.
In fact, the Department of Health, as cited by Philippine Star in their article DOH: It’s time to talk about, address depression made an alarming statement, “We need to start talking about depression to end the stigma surrounding mental health because, when left unattended, it can lead to suicide.”
Learn, unlearn, and relearn the truths about mental health so you can help your struggling friend, workmate, or family member.
Here’s what Beyond Small Talk hosts Peter Kairuz, Sonjia Calit, and psychotherapist Zenia Panahon have to say regarding 10 common myths surrounding mental illness.
Myth #1: Mental health problems can only be experienced at a certain age.
Truth: Mental health problems could manifest at any age. According to Mayo Clinic in their article Mental illness in children: Know the signs, children can develop the same mental illness such as anxiety disorders, Schizophrenia, and Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the like as adults.
Myth #2: People with mental health struggles are violent and unpredictable.
Truth: Not all who have mental health problems act violently. It still varies on the condition and as MentalHealth.gov says in their article Mental Health Myths and Facts, “only 3%–5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness.”
Myth #3: People with mental health struggles cannot deal with jobs and/or school.
Truth: A lot of people with mental health issues are highly functional and productive members of society. This is why you should be careful to watch out for warning signs of mental problems in your loved ones.
Myth #4: Personality flaws are often caused by mental health issues. You could snap out of it over time.
Truth: Mental health issues can be sourced from different factors such as genetics, environment, socioeconomic standing, and temperament, says Zenia Panahon. Also, you can’t just snap out of it. You need professional help and ongoing family support which are both vital toward healing.
Myth #5: Once you experience mental health problems, you will never get out of them.
Truth: Mental illness is treatable. If you seek help and gain support, you can recover.
Myth #6: Taking the pill is the only answer.
Truth: There are some who need medication, but others recover from mental health issues with the help of friends, family, and health professionals.
Myth #7: It’s impossible to prevent mental illness.
Truth: You cannot really control life’s trials and challenges, so there are times that it may push you to your limit. But, Mayo Clinic explains in Mental Illness that “If you have a mental illness, taking steps to control stress, to increase your resilience and to boost low self-esteem may help keep your symptoms under control.”
Myth #8: Mental illness is a form of brain damage.
Truth: Brain damage is physical. Mental health is how you feel, behave, and think as a person.
Myth #9: I can’t do anything for those who are experiencing mental health issues.
Truth: You can do something about it by being a good support system to them. Show your support by learning how to deal with your family members who have mental health struggles and accompanying them when seeking professional help, Zenia Panahon explained.
Myth #10: If I seek help, others would think of me as crazy.
Truth: When you seek help, you are investing in yourself, says Zenia Panahon.