Mental health is often described as an elephant in the room although I’d beg to differ. Nowadays, it is a topic of public discourse, but do we really know what we are talking about? Within this series (“Understanding the Mind”), I aim to provide readers with an insight about what mental illness is.
There are many misconceptions about mental health and people’s ignorance concerning the topic is something that I don’t understand. If you’re going to discuss the topic of mental health – which, is kinda a sensitive topic to be discussing – make sure you have you facts right.
Alas, why some people are ignorant is simply because they haven’t been educated. So, here I am, aiming to educate my readers to the best of my ability about something I have researched for days on end.
3 Most Common Misconceptions About Mental Health
1. People with mental illnesses are “crazy”, utter “loons”.
This point could not be further from the truth. Each and every one of us have neurotransmitters (chemicals) in our brains, acting as messengers that allow different areas of the brain and body to communicate. In the case that there is a chemical imbalance (ie: a disturbance) in the brain, the communication system is likely to be disrupted and many mental illnesses are a result of such disturbances. A person with a mental illness is not necessarily “crazy” but is not far from the “norm” – whatever that can be defined as, anyway.
2. People who are clinically depressed can easily move on; depression is a temporary mood and can be “switched off”.
Depression is a neurological disorder (caused by those chemical imbalances things again) and typically requires medication and/or therapy. It is not a mood or an adjective; it is a mental illness that can be difficult to live with.
3. Mental illness and mental disability are the same thing.
Mental illness (or mental disorder) refers to a medical condition that disturbs a person’s thinking, mood, ability to relate to other and/or daily functioning. A person with a mental or intellectual disability has below-average intellectual functioning, also typically having impaired social functioning.
Can you think of any other misconceptions about mental health? Do you, or someone you know, suffer from a mental illness or disorder? Let me know in the comments.