Monday, 21 March 2016

Common Misconceptions | #LetsTalkMentalHealth

When it comes to raising awareness about mental health, I'm all for it (hence why I started the hashtag #LetsTalkMentalHealth in a previous post)! However, over recent years there is one thing I have come to learn.

On a daily basis, mental health faces many misconceptions due to it's lack of awareness. Who it might affect, why people experience mental health problems. Pretty much anything from being diagnosed to getting help, making it all the more important to challenge these myths and help more people understand mental health.

"Young people don't experience mental health problems, it's just a part of growing up."
Back in high school, a friend of mine was diagnosed with depression. To me, he acted how he had always acted and I didn't notice his withdrawal until it was pointed out to me. I had never experienced or known anyone to have depression and at the time I found it extremely difficult to understand. "I don't get it... Why is he depressed? He's got nothing to be depressed about." He was admired, top of the class, surrounded by great friends and family. I couldn't comprehend how someone so young and loved could be suffering from a mental illness such as depression. It is only now after experiencing similar symptoms myself I realise my mistake. It's a common mistake that anyone can make. One in ten young people experience mental health problems. One in four young people experience suicidal thoughts. Rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers have increased by 70% over the last 25 years. Having a mental health problem can happen to anyone at any time, including young people. 

"Mental health is caused by personal weakness. You can snap out of it if you try hard enough."
Having a mental health condition is not a character flaw. In fact, it is not any personal flaw. Mental health problems are to do with genetic, biological, social, environmental and historical factors. Furthermore, telling someone to snap out of being depressed or anxious would be just as effective as telling someone with their arm in a cast to straighten it. You can't "snap out" of being unwell at free will. 

"You have to have gone through something dramatic to have a mental health problem."
Mental health is a tricky thing that can come in all shapes and forms. For some people it can hit them like a bus. This could be caused by a life changing event, maybe an accident or the loss of a loved one. For me, anxiety crept upon me like a cat in the night; slow and silent. I didn't know what it was but it was suddenly there and I couldn't seem to shake it. It was only after I fully understood anxiety I was able to pinpoint the event in my life that started this rippling effect of anxiety and panic. For others it's just something that happens with no explanation or cause.

"People experiencing mental health problems can not hold down the stress of a job."
All myth. If someone experiencing mental health problems has/is getting the appropriate, sufficient and effective treatment there is nothing stopping them from being just as productive (if not more) as someone without a mental illness. From personal experience, I know many people who alongside having a mental health condition also have excellent attendance, punctuality and motivation and will no doubt not only succeed but also thrive in life.

"People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable."
Personally, I find this the most unrealistic misconception about mental health. People who are mentally unwell are no more dangerous than anyone else. In fact, they are more likely to be the victim of violence or to harm themselves before they hurt others. With the appropriate treatment and support, people who experience mental health problems can live a successful, happy life within a community, and are nothing more to be afraid of than anyone else.

"Therapy is a waste of time. Just take a pill."
There is nothing wrong in taking medication, most people find it extremely effective however for many cases it is not a permanent solution. It is just as important to gain additional support such as counselling, learning how to head on face and overcome mental health is hugely beneficial and for many long lasting.

"I can't do anything for a person with mental health problems..."
Over recent months I have been asked countless time by both my friends and family how they could support me. What could they do to help if I was feeling unwell or in the midst of a panic attack? Friends and loved ones can make a big difference regarding someone's experience of mental health. By simply reaching out and letting them know you are available, you will be making the world of difference. Take them for a coffee, go for a walk or watch a movie... There is nothing so simple yet gratifying to know you are wanted.

These are only a few common misconceptions I have personally come across. For others it's many more. So many people still face discrimination towards their mental health which is quite honestly disgusting.

I didn't mean for this to turn into a rant, but it's 2016. Time to change.



  1. Mental health is something that deserves so much more coverage and spoken about more, too. This is such a realistic and informative post xx

    Jasmine ||

    1. Thank you, that means a lot. And I'm glad you agree aha x

  2. I think it's very important to talk about mental health, its not spoken about enough. You've made some great points - keep up the posts :)

    Elaine | Some Of My Favourite Things

  3. This is honestly such an incredible, insight post. As a teenager myself, I also feel incredibly passionately about mental health issues after struggling with symptoms myself for the past few years since becoming a teen. I really do think that it's time to change and the sooner the change is made, the better the world that we live in shall be.

    Jade xx |

    1. Thanks Jade! I hope you feel much better now xx

  4. I love this post!! It's so eye opening for people who may not know much about mental health xx

    1. Thankyou Claire x I'm glad you enjoyed it xx


© modedeviebel | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Handcrafted by pipdig