The Biggest Misconceptions About Mental Illness
Mental health has long been misunderstood.
Only until more recently, mental illnesses and mental health disorders were taboo topics. People were uncomfortable talking about these subjects or their mental health struggles. As a result, rumors and misunderstandings about mental illnesses ran wild. The media played no helping hand with exaggerated stories and extreme cases being showcased regularly. Although there has been progress, there are still several popular misconceptions about mental disorders that many people still believed to be true and may even be falsely spreading.
Common Mental Health Misconceptions & Myths
Although these common misconceptions about mental illness can seem innocuous, they can be damaging in several ways. These mental health myths continue to perpetuate toxic stereotypes that may keep someone from getting the help they need. Some may fear how others will view them if they come forward and ask for help. Others may avoid treatment because of the rumors about the type of care they will receive. This can leave many people struggling on their own and internalizing these negative views on mental illness that could ultimately make their problems worse.
As a Florida mental health facility
, we are dispelling these myths associated with mental illness to help break the stigma and encouraging people to get the help they need.
1. All people with mental illnesses are crazy.
Terms like “crazy,” “coo-coo,” and “insane,” are all hurtful words that feed into traditional stereotypes of mental illness. They perpetuate this idea that mental illness is wild, uncontrollable, and always severe when in reality, mental illness and mental health disorders fall on a big spectrum. They can range from mild to more severe and even come and go. These terms are also often associated with psychotic symptoms like hallucinations and delusions, but these symptoms only tend to be present in specific mental health disorders.
2. Mental illnesses and health disorders are extremely rare.
Mental illness is more common than many people think. While psychotic disorders like schizophrenia are estimated to occur in less than 1% of the U.S. population,1
other mental health disorders are more common. Anxiety in America today
, for example, is high with 18.1% of adults in the country struggling with an anxiety disorder each year.2
3. Mental Illnesses make people violent.
One of the more common misconceptions about mental illness is that it makes people violent and dangerous. Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders especially have a reputation for violence. People with major mental health disorders are thought to be responsible for only 4.3% of the violence in a given community, and people with schizophrenia are 14 times more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than the perpetrator.3,4
4. People with mental illness cannot function in society.
Another one the more popular myths associated with mental illness is that it makes someone unable to function in normal society. While some mental health disorders can be crippling, many people with mental illnesses are still productive members of society. Contrary to the stereotype, not all people with mental health disorders are homeless or locked away at a facility forever. Many people with mental health problems hold jobs, have families, and make it through the day with relative ease.
5. You cannot get better if you have a mental illness.
It is a common misconception that once someone develops a mental illness, they are doomed forever. While some mental illnesses are chronic, treatment can help people learn how to better manage their symptoms and get more control over their disorder; in some cases, proper treatment may help people overcome their disorder almost completely. Other mental health disorders can be short-term by nature and go away with time.
6. Treatment is scary.
Because of images portrayed by the media as well as past techniques, there are also many misconceptions about mental illness treatment that can make people scared to get help. Shock therapy, straitjackets, padded rooms, lobotomies, and a mess of pills that make the patient numb are mostly a thing of the past. Nowadays, treatment usually consists of a combination of mental health therapy methods
like psychotherapy, as well as medication if necessary, that can be adjusted to avoid adverse reactions. Most patients in residential mental health facilities
also have free reign inside and are there voluntarily.
At Banyan Mental Health, we understand that struggling with a mental health problem can be scary, but there is hope. Treatment and relief are possible.
If you or someone you care about has a mental illness and needs help, reach out to us now at 888-280-4763.
- NIH- Schizophrenia
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America - Facts & Statistics
- NCBI- Violence and mental illness: an overview
- NCBI- Violence and Schizophrenia