Let go of all preconceptions and learn about the following false assumptions about mental illness.
1.People who are mentally ill act/look a certain way
Mentally, we have representations of people with mental illness– if someone fits into our internal category of “normal”, then they must not have a mental illness. This is a problem, as people who are outwardly “happy” or “normal” tend to feel ignored and silenced and resist from seeking help.
- People with mental illnesses are at fault for their illnesses
A huge misconception about mental illnesses is that the individual can change their behavior and “fix the problem”. Many mental illnesses have genetic causes, such as Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, and Anxiety disorders. Do your research before making claims.
3.Mental Illness and physical illness are entirely separate
This perception, for one thing, is false: depression can cause physical symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, and headaches. In addition, people often claim that mental illnesses are not real, based on the false assumption that mental illnesses do not cause physical symptoms- this is extremely invalidating and can repel people from seeking much-needed help.
- People with mental illnesses require medication
Many people believe that all mental illnesses require medication, but many people often find psychotherapy, talk therapy, and group therapy to be extremely beneficial alone. The stigmatization of needing medicine results in the common perception of people with mental illness being broken.
5.People with mental illnesses are violent and/or dangerous
Media and film often paint individuals with mental illnesses as villains or “crazy”. This has created the false perception of this strong correlation between violence and mental illness. However, people with mental illness are more often victims, and the majority are not violent.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a men’s disease
While it is very common for soldiers returning from war to have PTSD, anyone can have the disease. Media disproportionately portrays the symptoms as only occurring in veterans, so survivors and individuals might feel like they have less of an illness because they don’t fit the typical case of PTSD.