Mental health conditions plague more people than one can even think of. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression, a major mental health condition, was the fourth most significant health problem in developed countries in 1990s.
It also said that depression might even snowball into the number one health problem in the world by 2020.
To spread awareness and promote mental health, “Mental Health Awareness Month” is observed every year in May. However, people, in general, have a gross misconception regarding mental illness. Certain myths and misinformation about mental illness often mislead people and create hindrances in the way of proper treatment.
Here, we look at seven such myths that surround mental illnesses:
1. Mental illness is a curse and the result of a sin: To consider mental illness as a form of punishment for any wrongdoings is baseless. Still, many people consider falling ill, including suffering from a mental health problem, as a way of spurning a sinner by God, which is utterly wrong. Mental health illness can affect anybody.
2. Priesthood blessing can rescue mental patients: This again is a myth. Believing that people can be rescued from the chasm of mental illness by blessings of a priest is sheer ignorance. Only treatment can offer long-term recovery to mental patients.
3. Mental patients have poor willpower: It is wrong to consider mental health patients as spineless, who lack will power. Mental issues are complex and one should not rely on any judgment by general people. A counselor or a psychiatrist is the right person to gauge the extent of the problem.
4. Someone has to be blamed for mental illness: It is an innate human nature to pass the buck when something goes wrong. Blaming someone for a mental condition is prevalent among the common people. But it is important to understand that mental illness can happen due to a number of reasons, including genes, environment and other factors, which only a doctor can ascertain after a thorough inspection.
5. Mentally ill are dangerous people and hence should be shackled: There are instances of mentally ill people committing crime but this does not mean that psychologically ill patients are predisposed to creating trouble. Normal people far outnumber mentally ill patients embroiled in any crimes. Locking up mentally ill patients would only aggravate their condition and not help their cause.
6. Mental illness does not strike children and younger people: Thousands of young children and young people are troubled by mental illnesses every year. Mental illness has nothing to do with age, gender or race. Everyone is vulnerable to mental health problems.
7. Mental health conditions do not heal and relapse: Such a belief can be extremely dangerous, as it can prevent people from seeking required help. Almost all mental health conditions are treatable, and with timely intervention one can lead a normal, healthy life. Timely treatment of mental conditions help in long-term recovery and prevent relapse.
To get rid of any mental health condition, it is important to seek treatment at the earliest. It is possible to assuage symptoms and gain long-term recovery from mental health disorders by getting into credible treatment programs. It is highly possible for these treatment programs, often times paired with proper medication management, to work and to make a very positive impact on those suffering.