Despite the growing acceptance of mental wellness as an integral part of healthcare, far too many negative stigmas about mental health remain.
Here are the most destructive stigmas surrounding mental health and wellness that must end.
The Mentally Ill Are Dangerous
The biggest stigma surrounding mental health is that people with mental illness are dangerous. Although there is a slight link between some forms of mental illness and increased violence, it’s a far more nuanced discussion than most people realize, and most people with mental illness aren’t dangerous.
Other People Have It Worse
There’s a massive stigma against seeking treatment for mental health concerns because “others have it worse.” It makes no sense because you wouldn’t refuse treatment for a broken wrist because other people have broken legs, would you?
You Can Get Over It
You can’t just “get over” depression or anxiety. People who don’t struggle with these illnesses don’t understand the severity and assume others can just pull themselves out. It often takes help from a professional for improvement.
So many Veterans suffer from PTSD that the general public thinks it’s a disease limited to veterans. Any trauma can cause PTSD.
Medication = Weakness
There’s a stigma against treating many known mental health ailments. Taking anti-anxiety meds makes some people think you’re weak, but the truth is realizing there is a problem and seeking help makes you strong.
It’s Not Real
People with ADHD often hear thousands of armchair psychologists dismiss their struggles. Those with no understanding of ADHD call those with it lazy and think they could function differently if they just tried harder.
That’s Not What It Looks Like
The very same armchair psychologists think they know precisely what each disorder should look like. They think you don’t have ADHD if you’re not loud and obnoxious, or you can’t be struggling with depression if you’re out of bed.
Many disorders have symptoms you don’t even realize are symptoms, so sufferers would appreciate it if people stopped telling them they “Can’t have X because Y.”
I’m Sooooo “OCD”
While it’s great that mental illnesses enjoy far more recognition now than in the past, it’s annoying to hear people constantly self-diagnose with serious illnesses because they have one quirky trait that seems similar.
You do not have OCD because you like to keep your socks in the drawer, and you do not have ADHD because you don’t want to do chores.
Certain mental disorders are associated with enhanced intelligence, while others are associated with lower IQ. People with autism may be super intelligent geniuses, but they might also be just as dumb as an average American.
Cognitive and congenital disabilities affecting brain function may limit intelligence, but most of the things we think of when we think of “mental health” do not affect intelligence.
Men’s Mental Health
The societal expectation to “man up” and that “men don’t cry” cause millions of men undue anguish. Men are just as likely to have mental health struggles as women, but many don’t seek the help they need because society deems it “unmanly.”
People suffering from mood disorders and personality disorders like Borderline Personality Disorder or Bipolar disorder often struggle to form relationships, partly due to the stigma associated with these disorders.
However, most people with these conditions can have healthy relationships, especially if they seek therapy and put in extra effort toward understanding how their condition affects them.
Having Mental Illness Means You’re Bad
Far too many people suffer in silence because of the negative stigma associated with any type of mental illness. People will flock to the doctor to treat any other ailments but refuse to admit they have a problem with mental health.
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