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Mental Health Month: 9 Myths About Mental Illness & Therapy

By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
Associate Editor

Mental Health Month: 9 Myths About Mental Illness & TherapyEven in today’s advanced world, there’s still much misunderstanding and stigma surrounding mental illness. Many of us are quick to dismiss people with mental illness as inferior or less than or wonder why they can’t just snap out of it.

Many of us also rarely believe that mental illness merits the same understanding and compassion as medical illnesses such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease.

Such stigma has devastating effects. It “prevents some people from accessing support and professional help and breeds shame and secrecy, which can significantly worsen a person’s condition as well as their prognosis — even to a point of being life-threatening, in the case of suicidal ideation,” according to Joyce Marter, LCPC, a psychotherapist and owner of Urban Balance, a multi-site counseling practice in the greater Chicago area.

That’s why it’s so important to talk about the facts. Below, experts share accurate information about mental illness.

5 Comments to
Mental Health Month: 9 Myths About Mental Illness & Therapy

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  1. It’s taken me a long time to finally accept and understand mental illnesses. I was raised to believe things like depression were “just in your head.” Sadly, these are real issues and I’m happy to have a more enlightened outlook these days.

  2. There needs to be balance between ideologies of mental illness and religious/spiritual experience… Eg 2 Corinthians 12 and in empirical findings of the individual. Let’s open up to these complexities in a unique and promising way for holistic worldly measures.

  3. Just as good friends are no substitute for good therapy, a good therapist is no substitute for good friends.

  4. I stopped seeking counseling. One said I just neede to let “some” and the rest of them…tell me “light a candle, take a walk, relax in a bath” that type of educated advice makes me even more crazy.

  5. It is great that these myths about mental illness have finally been dispelled. I used to be a little bit cynical about mental health problems myself until I started experiencing anxiety about six months. Now, I have found it surprising how much misunderstanding and stigma still exists.

    Although professional treatment is very important, I still believe it is equally important to have friends and family who are in a position to support you. Treatment is rarely available 24/7 and it will be these support systems that ultimately help the person suffering through the hard times. In response, I decided to create a support network called “Anxiety Allies” to ensure that no one has to suffer silently or alone. In order to create this group, I have also had to generate greater awareness and understanding of anxiety to dispel some of these myths that you have mentioned in your post. I will definitely be passing this post onto my followers!

  6. Myth #10: Mentally ill people are dangerous

    FACT: Not all violent behavior is the result of mental illness. Statistically speaking, the mentally ill are far more likely to be on the receiving, rather than on the giving end of violence. The popular tendency to dismiss all acts of violence as “just some nut acting out” is a cop -out our populace uses to keep from examining trends and elements of society that are desperately in need of attention.

  7. I know several people, including one of my closest friends, that suffer from mental illnesses and it is sad to think that there are so many people out there that actually believe in these myths. I also agree that there are even several other myths that could be included in this list. My friend has seen her family members really become dependent on different medications that they are taking so she has sworn off taking any medication at all.

  8. Great article….thanks.

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