Six Myths and Realities Surrounding Mental Illness

Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2018

MHMyths_webAwareness of mental health issues is increasing, but damaging stigmas persist in today’s society. Here, we examine some of the more commonly-held myths, and the truths behind them.

Myth: Suffering from mental illness is uncommon

Mental illness is probably more common than you think. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than one in six U.S. adults (18.3%) lives with a mental illness. Chances are you know or are somehow connected to someone suffering from a mental illness and may not even know.

Myth: Mental illnesses are not “true” medical conditions

“There is plenty of research and empirical evidence that suggest that many, if not most, behavioral health issues involve chemical imbalances in the brain that can be addressed by medication,” said Anthony Parente, The Providence Center’s Director of Adult Outpatient Services. “Much like medical conditions, there are often underlying biological causes and/or a genetic predisposition that account for one’s illness.”

Myth: People suffering from mental illness are more likely to commit a crime or engage in violent behavior

People suffering from mental illness are no more likely to commit violence than anyone else. In fact, studies show that people with mental health conditions are much more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than those in the general population.

Myth: Therapy isn’t necessary for people on medication

Therapy and other forms of self-care are usually an important part of a person’s treatment. “All current best practice models indicate that use of pharmacological methods along with clinical/supportive interventions is the most successful approach in helping individuals on their paths to personal recovery,” said Parente. “Though each on their own may be effective for some people, in most cases it is the combination of both that help sustain long-lasting success.” Everyone’s situation is different, so treatment methods should be discussed with a qualified professional.

Myth: You can will away your mental illness with positive thought

Though having a positive outlook and belief in one’s recovery is important, behavioral health conditions cannot be “willed away.” People sometimes have the idea that issues like anxiety or depression are all in someone’s head and can be “shaken off,” but the reality is that recovery requires the help of evidence-based interventions.

Myth: Mental illness is a personal weakness

People do not choose to live with behavioral health issues, and there are a variety of factors involved their development. Those suffering with mental illness can and do get better, and some recover completely. Treat struggling people with dignity, and become an advocate for awareness in your community.

TPC offers various levels of mental health treatment including: outpatient, intensive outpatient, and Health Home teams. To learn more, visit our service page or call 401-276-4020 to make an appointment