As a society, we have never been more aware and more sensitive to mental health.
However, there is still an awful lot of stigma surrounding the subject, and a lot of myths that still circulate, some of which can be so dangerous if believed.
1. “I don’t have mental health.”
Everyone has mental health, just as everyone has physical health. The misconception here is that many people still think that mental health and mental illness are the same things. Everybody has mental health, not everybody has a mental illness.
2. “People with poor mental health are dangerous.”
Having problems with your mental health does not make you inherently dangerous. There are times when mental health struggles can make you a danger, but this is usually to yourself rather than others, and the last thing we need at this point is to demonise people who are struggling. This is the time we need to step in to help.
3. “People with mental health issues are lazy.”
People who battle against mental health issues every day are using all of their energy to stay alive. This is incredibly draining and doesn’t leave much (if any) energy to do other things that people might call “the normal, day-to-day” stuff. We’re not lazy – we’re exhausted.
4. “If you speak out about your mental health, you’re attention-seeking.”
This is one I see a lot, especially on Twitter, where many people with mental health issues go to vent and seek support, but are unfortunately met with trolls who accuse them of attention-seeking.
5. “Men don’t need to talk about mental health, they just need to man-up.”
According to the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), three in every four suicides in the UK are men. The phrase “man-up” is incredibly toxic and discourages men from speaking up when they are struggling with their mental health. Again, everyone has mental health, and everyone needs to be able to reach out for help without fear of being seen as weak or “less-than”.
What other myths do you hear about mental health? What would you like people to know about mental health? Let me know in the comments.