Celebrated on October 10th, World Mental Health Day seeks to raise awareness of mental health and help those in need to access appropriate support. Issues such as anxiety and depression continue to rise, however, cracks are beginning to appear in the stigma associated with their diagnosis. This doesn’t mean that the discrimination those with mental health issues experience has disappeared. Efforts such as World Mental Health Day help us to evaluate our attitudes, yet myths about mental health can cause judgmental thinking to be reinforced.
Let us address 8 Myths About Mental Health
Mental Health Problems Are Uncommon
The stigma attached to mental health once caused a great many sufferers to deny their symptoms and made them reluctant to seek medical help. As advances in research and increasing numbers of campaigns provide the general public with a better understanding of the causes of mental health issues, people are more likely to reach out to medical professionals.
NHS Digital found that 1 in 6 young people had a mental health problem in 2020, a far cry from the notion that mental health issues are uncommon. It is also estimated that between 4-10% of adults in England will experience depression in their lifetime and that one in five lost work days in Britain are caused by anxiety and depression.
You Don’t Need A Therapist If You Have Good Friends
Our friends will always play a vital role in our mental well-being and there is no doubt that offloading to a loved one after a stressful day makes us feel better. However, prolonged periods of stress and significant traumas require the trained ear of a professional. Unless your friend is a licensed therapist, you won’t get the same mental health benefits from talking with them.
People With Mental Health Issues Are Unable To Hold Down A Job
We have already discovered that mental health issues are more prevalent than often thought. This means that many people who suffer with their mental health are employed and that some of them are probably your colleagues. In fact, the 2014 Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report estimated that around 60% of people with common mental disorders are in work.
Sickness and reduced productivity due to mental health issues cost em ployers up to £42 billion in 2017. There is therefore a financial incentive for companies to take action towards improving their staff’s mental health.
Medication Is More Effective Than Therapy
Both medication and therapy are effective in treating a range of mental health conditions. Whether you choose to opt for one or the other, or a combination of the two, depends on several factors. For example, those who have suffered a childhood trauma may find greater benefit from discussing their experience with a therapist.
Physical Health Problems Are Worse Than Mental Health Problems
This misconception gains traction as mental health illnesses cannot be ‘seen’. If we take diabetes and asthma as examples of physical illnesses, they come with visible symptoms and daily medications, however, conditions whose symptoms are displayed emotionally can be just as debilitating.
Bad Parenting Is To Blame
One single factor rarely causes mental illness. A combination of adverse life experiences such as trauma or abuse, coupled with chemical imbalances in the brain, are usually at play. Mental health issues may, in part, be hereditary. Research has found that you are more likely to be afflicted by conditions such as schizophrenia if it runs in your family. Yet it is not always clear whether an individual is genetically predisposed to mental health ailments, or if the environment in which they grew up plays a more decisive role.
People With Mental Health Problems Are Violent
Violence is not caused by mental illness, but more often linked to socio-demographic and economic factors, as well as substance misuse. Those who suffer with mental health issues are more likely to develop substance use disorders and this may cause the public to exaggerate the association between violence and mental illness. Regrettably, members of the public may report feeling personally at risk from those who have mental health issues, despite them being much more likely to harm themselves.
You Cannot Recover From Mental Health Issues
If you suffer from mental health issues, the most important message to take away from this blog is that you can recover. Because our minds are not static, but plastic. This has been shown in fascinating studies on brain functionality. The key term here is neuroplasticity, which posits that our brain can change functionally and morphologically at any time in our life. What this means is that we all have the potential to develop away from negative and dysfunctional thoughts to positive and beneficial thought habits. With the introduction of self-care techniques, or – sometimes – medical treatment, many mental disturbances or illnesses have a chance to go away for good.
How Can Dr. Jan Help With Myths About Mental Health?
Dr. Jan C. Wulff has practised medicine for over 30 years and qualified as a life coach more than 12 years ago. His passion lies in helping those who suffer from negative thought patterns and teaching his clients ways to replace these thoughts with positive alternatives.
Over the last decade, Dr. Jan has helped countless professionals to overcome stress, anxiety and depression and rediscover their zest for life. His 1-to-1 coaching sessions provide individuals with a minimum of 12 weeks’ therapy, uniquely tailored to their situation. By using Dr. Jan’s exclusive BrainTuning System®, clients are provided with 5 structured steps that map out a journey of self-discovery. Over time, clients assess their barriers to happiness, discover what is truly important to them and build positive thought patterns in order to achieve their goals.
Dr. Jan’s new online course, The 6 Laws Of The Mind, goes beyond self-reflection and teaches individuals how to energetically charge their thoughts and actions to improve their mental and physical well-being. By understanding the rules that govern our thinking, we are better equipped to develop our mindset, philosophy and outlook.