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Myths About Mental Illness

Myths about Mental Illness

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Statistics show that this year, one in five people will experience a mental illness. Your neighbor could experience depression; your friend may struggle with anxiety; your loved one could need help with post-traumatic stress. While we likely already know someone experiencing mental health issues, there are still many hurtful attitudes around mental illnesses that fuel stigma and discrimination and make it harder to reach out for help. Below are some common myths about mental health and the fact that debunks it.

Myth #1:  Depression results from a personality weakness or character flaw, and people could just snap out it if they tried.

Fact:  Depression has nothing to do with being lazy or weak.  It results from changes in brain chemistry or brain function and medication and/or psychotherapy often help people recover.

Myth #2:  If you have a mental Illness, you can just will it away.  Being treated for a psychiatric disorder means an individual has in some way “failed” or is weak.

Fact:  A serious mental illness cannot be willed away.  Ignoring the problem does not make it go away either. It takes courage to seek professional help.

Myth #3:  People with mental illnesses are simply “crazy.”

Fact:  All of us have neurotransmitters (or chemicals) in our brains that act as messengers, allowing different areas of the brain and the body to communicate.  When there is a disturbance (or chemical imbalance) in the brain the communication system can be disrupted.  Some mental illnesses are a result of such disturbances.  Besides there is no such thing as “normal”, so how could be define “crazy”?  We are all a little different.

Myth #4:  Schizophrenia means split personality, and there is no way to control it.

Fact:  Schizophrenia is often confused with multiple personality disorder (now called Dissociative Identity Disorder.)  Schizophrenia is actually a brain disorder that robs people of their ability to think clearly and logically.  The estimated 2.5 Americans with schizophrenia have symptoms ranging from social withdrawal to hallucinations and delusions.  Medication has helped many of these individuals to lead fulfilling, productive lives.

To learn more about the The Up Center’s mental health support services, click here.

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