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10 Myths & Facts about Mental Illness

Team AckoJun 13, 2024

Mental Health (MH) issues are quite common. Still, due to the stigma associated with it, a lack of understanding, and restricted access to professional care, only a few people come forward and seek help to recover from these issues. Often, MH myths lead to social stigmas that can put you in distress and worsen your condition. This article will elucidate some common myths versus facts about Mental Health.




Importance of Mental Health Awareness

Raising mental health awareness is akin to lighting a beacon in the darkness that many face due to the mental health stigma. It's about spreading mental health facts to dismantle myths and misconceptions that surround mentally ill persons. By educating ourselves and others, we can change the narrative around common mental illnesses, encouraging a more empathetic and supportive approach.

Mental health awareness empowers those struggling to seek help, knowing they won't be labeled as "mental people" in a derogatory sense. It's about building a community where mental illness is recognised as a part of the human condition, not a mark of shame.

How to Support Someone Struggling with Mental Health

Supporting someone struggling with mental health can feel daunting, but it's fundamentally about being present, listening, and offering help without judgment. Start by educating yourself on the causes of mental illness and the realities of living with a mental health condition. This knowledge can break down the barriers of mental health stigma and help you approach the situation with empathy and understanding. Simple acts of kindness, a willingness to listen, and offering to assist with practical tasks can make a world of difference. 

Remember, the goal isn't to "fix" a mentally ill person but to show them they're not alone in their journey. Encourage them to seek professional help if they haven't already, and reassure them that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Common Mental Health myths busted

This section showcases some Mental Health myths and corresponding facts. 

Myth 1: Mental Health issues are prevalent among adults only

Fact: Anyone who has the ability to think can suffer from Mental Health issues. The behavioural changes in a child from time to time are owing to mental stress and other natural transitions. Their inability to express issues in words may make you believe they are normal, especially in the early part of their childhood.

Trauma and mental stress faced by children in early times can have severe consequences in the later part of their childhood and adulthood. Studies suggest that the symptoms of Mental Health disorders in more than half of the cases start at the age of 14. Timely medical attention and treatment can help kids recover from mental illness and behavioural disorders.

Myth 2: People with severe Mental Health issues are violent and unpredictable

Fact: Only a small margin of people suffering from certain complicated mental illnesses tend to show violent and unpredictable behaviour. Most people suffering from mental issues behave normally. For example, individuals having the most severe conditions like schizophrenia are mostly non-violent because they live in a state of fear and are more confused than others.

As per studies, the incidents of violence in people with a brain disorder are not higher than those among the general population. People who suffer from psychiatric disorders tend to avoid people and often find it difficult to communicate their thoughts with others.

Myth 3: Mental Health issues are rare

Fact:  Cases of mental illnesses and behavioural disorders are as common as other diseases like diabetes, heart disease, etc. People with MH issues are highly functional. However, they tend to be afraid of the social stigma and usually do not share their problems with others.

Studies show that the prevalence of MH issues in adults, even with kids is very high. It suggests that about one in five adults experience MH issues, while one in six kids go through major depressive disorders.

Myth 4: There is no hope and recovery for someone with a mental illness

Fact: Due to the social stigma and lack of awareness, it gets difficult for people to recover from MH conditions. But the fact is adequate treatment plans are available for mental illness issues, and people have recovered from such disorders completely. The progress of such recoveries is often related to the emotional support they receive from people who are part of their environment. Sometimes offering care proves to be better than any medicine that can create miracles.

Myth 5: People with mental illnesses cannot function properly in society

Fact: Most people suffering from MH issues are highly efficient and talented. They are often the most valued members of their families and communities. The existence of MH condition does not necessarily mean somebody is weak or lacks competence.

On the other hand, it requires a lot of strength and courage to recognize the condition of the Mental Health of your near and dear ones and offer a caring hand to them to overcome such a predicament.

Myth 6: Mental Health issues cannot happen to me

Fact: Mental Health issues often trigger by one’s environment and are not the sole result of a particular genetic predisposition. You may also develop MH issues at some point in life, but the important thing is to acknowledge and address them, just as you usually do with your physical problems.

Nobody chooses to be sad. Some people feel it occurs when you allow yourself to wallow in your grief or misery. But, in reality, MH disorder is a medical condition in which the structure of your brain, chemistry, and function, are adversely affected by environmental or biological factors. A stressful school, career, or personal life may wear anyone out and can lead to mental illness. If you feel that you are experiencing it, make an appointment with your doctor immediately.

Myth 7: There are no preventive measures for mental illnesses

Fact: Measures such asstrengthening social and emotional skills, seeking help & support from others, developing supportive relationships, a healthy lifestyle, etc., can help. Not expecting too much from life, living each moment to the fullest, and being joyful and content should be the mantra of life.

Children and adolescents who do well in the face of adversity typically have a natural mental resistance combined with an agile and supportive relationship with family and friends, resulting in a combination of protective factors to support mental well-being.

Myth 8: Only irresponsible fathers and mothers cause mental issues in children

Fact: Bad parenting can never be the only cause. Though it can cause mental trauma in children and worsen their mental health if left unattended. While children progress to adulthood, there are other contributing factors for MH disorders which may include poverty, unemployment, exposure to violence, and migration. Caregivers' support can be critical in assisting teenagers to overcome whatever challenges they face, but it is only one of many contributing factors that can lead to MH problems.

Myth 9: Only people who do not have social support need help 

Fact: There is a difference between structured therapies provided by specialists and assistance from untrained friends. Both can help people with mental illness in different ways. However, a trained therapist can deal with issues constructively and logically in ways that even the best friends cannot match.

Therapy by a qualified person remains confidential, objective, and entirely focused on the needs of an individual according to his or her condition. It won't be possible in an informal environment comprising untrained friends.

Myth 10: It is in the genes!

Fact: Most educated members of society have doubts about the hereditary nature of mental illness. This myth often causes the exclusion of people or families from the mainstream by attaching a social stigma to them. But experts are not sure about the significance of genetics in determining the risk of developing mental illness. Having a family history of Mental Health illness does not always guarantee that you will inherit it too.

Promoting a Mentally Healthy Workplace

A mentally healthy workplace recognises the importance of mental health alongside physical health. It's an environment where the mental health stigma has no place, and where resources and support for common mental disorders are readily available. Employers can play a crucial role by implementing policies that promote work-life balance, reduce stress, and offer confidential support for those dealing with mental health issues. 

Training staff to recognize signs of mental distress and creating an atmosphere where employees feel safe to discuss their mental health challenges without fear of discrimination are also key. By fostering open dialogue and understanding, workplaces can become supportive spaces that contribute positively to the mental well-being of all employees.

The Role of Diet and Physical Activity in Mental Health

When we think about what health means, it's crucial to include both the body and mind. The food we eat and our level of physical activity don't just shape our waistlines or muscle strength—they're also pivotal causes of mental illness or, conversely, important pillars of mental well-being. A balanced diet rich in nutrients can fuel the brain just as well as it fuels the body, potentially mitigating symptoms of common mental disorders like depression and anxiety. 

Regular physical activity, meanwhile, releases endorphins—those natural mood lifters that can help keep the shadow of common mental illnesses at bay. Embracing a lifestyle that values good nutrition and consistent exercise is a step toward mental resilience, proving that caring for our physical health is inseparable from caring for our mental health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions and answers about mental health and mental health myths.


What do you mean by Mental Health?

Mental health encompasses emotional, physical, and social well-being. It impacts our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, as well as our ability to cope with stress, interact with others, and make healthy decisions.

How can mental illness be prevented?

MH conditions can be prevented by building skills in social and emotional well-being, seeking support, fostering positive family relationships, promoting a supportive school environment, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Is there any hope for recovery from mental illness?

The progress of such recoveries is often related to the emotional support patients receive from people who are part of their environment. However, medication, counselling, peer support, and offering care can help a person recover from mental illness.

Can mentally ill individuals function normally in society?

Yes, many people living with mental health issues are highly functional, valuable, and active members of society. They work, contribute to their communities, and build relationships like anyone else. Mental illness does not equal incompetence or inability.

Are there preventive measures for mental health issues?

Yes, while not all mental health issues can be prevented, a combination of healthy lifestyle choices, social support, stress management techniques, and early intervention can significantly reduce the risk or severity of mental health problems.

Is mental illness just genetic?

While genetics can play a role in the risk of developing certain mental health conditions, they are just one piece of the puzzle. Environmental factors, life experiences, and personal habits also significantly impact mental health. 

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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