It can sometimes be tricky differentiating between fact and fiction when it comes to a lot of things. In today’s culture there is so much information out there about mental health with so many opinions, fact-checking can be difficult. So it’s important to know which information is reliable and which is not. Especially when it comes to your mental health. This is why in honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, we took the time to debunk some of the most common misconceptions and myths about mental health.
Myth #1: Seeking Help for Your Mental Health is Only for “Crazy” People
First things first, having a mental illness does NOT mean you are “crazy”. It just means that you have an illness with symptoms that you may need help managing, just like anyone else who has an illness or disease. They seek medical treatment for their symptoms, so why should seeking therapy for your mental health struggles be any different? So please, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty or ashamed for doing so. And while a mental illness may alter or affect your thinking or mood, it still does not mean that you are “crazy”. You are human. You will struggle with things just like everyone else does, so struggling with your mental health and needing help doesn’t make you any different (NAMI).
Myth #2: Personality Weakness or Character Flaws Cause Mental Health Problems.
There is this stigma that people who suffer from mental health problems are weak or lazy. But this is the furthest thing from the truth. Mental health problems have nothing to do with your work ethic, ambition, or weaknesses. There are actually many other factors that play a part in your mental health. For example, your biological makeup, such as your genes or brain chemistry, can be a major influential factor. Also, your life experiences and family history can play a part in it as well (Mental Health Gov.). It can be hard to overcome mental health challenges on your own. So seeking help shouldn’t be seen as a sign of weakness. In fact, it should be seen as a sign of strength because you are acknowledging that you need help to overcome something. And that takes a lot of strength to do.
Myth #3: Therapy and Self-care Are A Waste of Time. Why bother when you can just take a pill?
While taking medication to help manage your mental health is completely normal, it may not always be the only answer. Treatment for mental health problems can vary depending on the individual. But, research has shown that your mental health can improve by a combination of talk therapy and medication. Also, working with a therapist helps in providing a therapeutic relationship that gives you the opportunity to explore your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in a safe environment. And talking to a therapist gives you the opportunity to talk to someone who has the proper training and experience. They can offer their guidance, teach you new skills or coping mechanisms, gain different perspectives, and even help you listen to yourself. Additionally, partaking in self-care practices can help you develop and maintain a healthy relationship with yourself. And doing this helps provide positive feelings and boosts your self-esteem.
In addition to these resources we also strongly encourage therapy. Here at Mathews Counseling, we are here to help you whenever you need us.
At Mathews Counseling, all of our therapists are highly qualified with a minimum of a Master’s degree in a mental health field, licensed by a state board, and experienced in the areas listed on their bios. We are sure there are a number of other questions you may have with regards to starting therapy and we are happy to answer any of them.