2.8 min readPublished On: May 20, 2024

Understanding Mental Health: Common Misconceptions Debunked

May is Mental Health Month, a perfect time to learn about mental health and clear up some common misconceptions. Vickie Hanna, LISW-S, LCDC-III a behavioral health provider at AxessPointe Community Health Centers, shares insights on this important topic. Let’s debunk some misconceptions and understand the truth about mental health.

Common Misconceptions About Mental Health

Misconception #1: “You’re Crazy!”

Sometimes, people call someone “crazy” or label them with a diagnosis they don’t have. For example, you might hear someone say, “You’re so bipolar!” This happens because of things they’ve heard in the media. But only a professional can diagnose mental health conditions. Labels like these can be very hurtful and are often wrong.

Misconception #2: “I’ll Always Feel This Way.”

People often think they will have to live with feelings of depression or anxiety forever. This is not true! With the right treatment, many people feel much better and can lead happy, healthy lives. Mental health conditions can be managed with therapy, medication, or both.

Misconception #3: “Therapists Should Know How to Fix Everything.”

Some believe that therapists should have all the answers, especially if they’ve experienced the same issues. Therapists are trained to help you find your own solutions, even if they haven’t gone through the same things. They use their skills and knowledge to support you in your journey to better mental health.

Misconception #4: “Just Deal with It and Move On.”

A lot of people think you should just “deal with” your problems without help. They might say, “You don’t need a counselor; they just ask, ‘How does that make you feel?’ or give you pills.” This is a misconception. Counselors and psychiatrists use many techniques to help, not just medication or talking about feelings. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

The Impact of These Misconceptions

These misconceptions are harmful and can lead to serious consequences. They can make people feel ashamed or afraid to seek help. Some might withdraw from others or act out, and some might even develop suicidal thoughts or harm themselves. Believing these misconceptions can also hurt a person’s self-esteem and make them feel less worthy. This stigma can lead to bullying and missed opportunities in life.

Educating About Mental Health

To fight these misconceptions, education is key. Vickie Hanna emphasizes the importance of learning the truth about mental health. Here’s are some useful tool recommended by Vickie on how you can help:

  • Learn from Reliable Sources: Read books, watch documentaries, and listen to podcasts that provide accurate information about mental health.
  • Join Support Groups: Attending local support groups can offer firsthand insights and help break down misconceptions.
  • Get Involved with Organizations: Organizations like NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) offer resources and support for learning about mental health.

Recommended Resources

Remember, understanding mental health is the first step to supporting those who are struggling and reducing the stigma. By debunking these misconceptions, we can create a more informed and compassionate community.