Mental illnesses are actually quite common– it is estimated that 1 in 4 adults will suffer from a diagnosable mental illness in a given year (NIMH). Mental illnesses also don’t discriminate, and can happen to anyone regardless of gender, race, class, or age.
2. People with mental illnesses are “crazy”.
This belief is one of the biggest reasons why people who suffer from mental illnesses are afraid to seek help. Labeling them as “crazy” makes it difficult for them to feel as if they are safe to get treatment for fear of it negatively impacting their lives, relationships, or how people view them. Just like physical illnesses, mental illnesses often have biological causes that are out of the person’s control, which can be affected by a number of environmental, genetic, and psychological factors.
3. People with mental illnesses are overreacting, and can just snap out of it.
Mental illnesses are incredibly difficult to deal with and can be emotionally draining for everyone involved. If a person believes they have a mental illness, they should be taken seriously, and the appropriate health professionals should be contacted.
4. People with mental illnesses are dangerous and should be avoided.
There is no evidence suggesting that people with mental illnesses are inherently more dangerous or violent than those without mental illnesses. In fact, people who suffer from mental illnesses are more likely to be the victims of violence due to fear stemming from misunderstandings about mental illness (NIMH). People with mental illnesses are capable of living long, healthy, fulfilling lives and being productive members of society.
Treatment is often complex, and there is no one size fits all approach. Medications focus on treating the symptoms but don’t necessarily fix other issues surrounding a disorder. Many times, doctors will recommend a combination of approaches including medication, therapy, support groups, and certain lifestyle changes to maximize treatment benefits.