Mental health is an essential aspect of our overall well-being, but despite its significance, there are still many misconceptions surrounding it. These myths can lead to stigma, and discrimination, and even prevent people from seeking help when they need it. In this article, we will debunk some of the most common myths about mental health.
Myth 1: Only mental health professionals have a role to play in support.
While mental health professionals are a vital support for people with mental health conditions, there's more to it than just professional care. When it comes to support, everyone has a role to play. A person's community, friends, workplace, social connections, GP, and neighbours are just as important and can create a valuable network of support.
Myth 2: Talking about mental health problems makes them worse.
Many people worry that talking about mental illness, crises, or suicide might put ideas into a person's head. However, silence can be more harmful than sharing. Talking openly and safely about issues regarding mental health, thoughts, feelings, and suicide helps people feel heard and cared for, not harm them.
Myth 3: Children don't experience mental health issues.
There are many factors that can affect a person's mental health, and they can impact both children and adults at any age. About 1 in 7 children* and adolescents aged 4 to 17 have recently experienced a mental health disorder in Australia. The most common disorders are ADHD, followed by anxiety and depression.
*Kids and Mental Health, Health Direct (Nov 2021)
Myth 4: Mental Health Conditions are rare.
Stigma and fear can prevent people from talking openly about mental health. Mental health conditions are, in fact, very common. One in five (20%)* Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year, and an estimated 45% of Australians may experience mental illness at some point in their lives.
*Mental Health Key Facts, Everymind ( 2023)
Myth 5: People who have a mental illness can 'snap out of it.'
A common misconception about mental health conditions is that overcoming them just takes enough willpower, discipline, and mental toughness. However, just like any physical condition, mental health conditions can't just be willed away. Many factors can impact mental health, and treatment and recovery take care, time, healing, and practice.
It's essential to debunk these myths and understand that mental health is just as important as physical health. By breaking down these barriers and promoting open and honest conversations, we can create a more supportive and understanding environment for those who need it most.