It’s no secret that mental wellness is a hot topic on campus – and we hope it continues to be! The more you know about maintaining your mental well-being and looking out for that of others, the better. Here are a few common myths around mental wellness and the facts that debunk them.
Myth: Personality weaknesses or character flaws cause mental health problems. People with mental health problems can snap out of it if they try hard enough.
Fact: Mental health problems have nothing to do with being lazy or weak and many people need help to get better. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:
- Biological factors, such as genes, physical illness, injury, or brain chemistry
- Life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse
- Family history of mental health problems
People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.
Myth: There is no hope for people with mental health problems. Once a friend or family member develops mental health problems, they will never recover.
Fact: Studies show that people with mental health problems get better and many recover completely. Recovery refers to the process in which people are able to live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities. There are more treatments, services, and community support systems than ever before, and they work!
Myth: Mental health conditions are uncommon.
Fact: Mental illness is more prevalent than many people think! One in five Americans experiences it in their lifetime. One in twenty-five Americans experience a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. It can affect anyone, including all ages, races, income levels and religions. These common conditions are medical, and can cause changes in how people think and feel.
Myth: Different races are more prone to mental illness.
Fact: All races and ethnicities are affected by the same rate of mental illness. There is no single group of people more likely than others to have a mental health condition. However, some people have cultural influences that may affect how they interpret symptoms of a mental health condition that could prevent them from getting help. And while the rates are the same, awareness of mental illness in varying minority groups is important to highlight, as these groups often times get overlooked in the potential differences of outcomes in mental illnesses.
Myth: You don’t need therapy. Just take a pill.
Fact: Everyone has different treatment needs. There is no one, right way to recovery. While medication can help, it may not be the only thing a person needs to feel their absolute best. Often a combination of therapy and medication provides the best outcomes. You should speak with a mental health professional to help determine what’s the best treatment plan.
Myth: People with mental illness can’t handle work or school.
Fact: Stressful situations can be difficult for all people, not just those who live with mental illness. People with mental health conditions have jobs, go to school, and are active members of their communities.
Myth: You can’t help someone with mental illness.
Fact: Everyone can help those living with mental illness by speaking and acting in a way that preserves personal dignity. If you are a part of removing mental illness stigma in our society you are helping everyone affected by a condition. Two easy ways to do this are:
- Using person-first language. This means that a person is not their illness; an example would be saying “she has depression” not “she is depressed.”
- Do not use offensive slang. A person with a mental health condition is not “crazy,” “psycho,” “insane,” or “loony.” When you use these words you are implying again that a person is solely their illness.
Several of these myths were pulled from the NAMI blog. Check it out for even more info! And for more information on mental wellness resources at the University of Georgia, visit the University Health Center online!
Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS) at the University Health Center provides short-term individual and group counseling, medication monitoring, free workshops, and much more!