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Common Misconceptions About Mental Illness Everyone Should Abandon

Common Misconceptions About Mental Illness Everyone Should Abandon

Stigmas related to mental health are a real issue. They still exist all over the world. In America alone, there are about 8 million people struggling with severe mental illness. Of those, only about half are treated and most face long term battles with mental health. Just as the cyclist in the featured image of this article misjudged his jump, many people still have misconceptions about mental illness.

But why fight these mental health stigmas?

Fear of discrimination and the attached stigmas often keep people and their families from facing mental health problems. This creates a regressive effect. It keeps those in need from seeking help, and to put it lightly, this is very problematic.

Mental health is as important as proper physical health. Access to treatment and issues with insurance coverage can also be a barrier to seeking treatment. Mental health treatment should be viewed similarly to how physical ailments are addressed.They often times go hand in hand.

Be a voice of reason by advocating mental health. Doing so starts by comprehending some of the misconceptions that are unfortunately still present in society. The following misconceptions and myths about mental illness must be reversed, and we can all do our part through self-education and communcation!

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People Can Recover From Depression or Anxiety Disorders With Prescription Drugs Alone

While certain prescription drugs can certainly aid in overcoming a lot of mental illnesses, they are by no means a comprehensive cure. Therapy and counseling are just as important and offer many crucially essential benefits to those with mental illnesses.

People may make claims such as: “Counseling, therapy, and self-help are a waste of time. Don’t bother with all of that when you can simply take a pill.”

This is definitely not true. Prescription drugs can be taken in addition to, not instead of, therapy and counseling.

Additionally, self-care is often times one of the true roads to combating mental health issues. Take a look at the photo below for a relevant quote on self-care.

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    Image courtesy of Social Work and Self Care infographic by Case Western School of Applied Social Sciences

    Those Struggling With Mental Illness Can Simply “Pull Themselves Out of it”

    For some reason many people are under the impression that those with mental illness are simply lazy or faking it. This is not only insensitive, it’s downright incorrect. People do not want to have a mental illness. It’s not a crutch, it’s a deeply intricate burden on a person’s overall health.

    It’s not easy to get past, hell, it’s not easy to even come to terms with having a mental health issue in the first place. Those affected need our help and support, not shameful or belittling words.

    Related: A Comic That Shows What It’s Really Like To Live With Depression And Anxiety

    Those Who Are Mentally Ill Can’t Hold Down a Job or Properly Take Care of Themselves and Their Families

    This is sometimes true in regards to more severe forms of mental illnesses that exist. But the majority of the people suffering from mental health disorders are able to meet their work requirements and keep up with their responsibilities. They are also able to satisfy the needs of those around them including their family and close friends. They have social lives, they function at work and school. Since so many people with mental health issues seem fine from an outsider perspective, sometimes even their family members and those closest to them do not realize how much they are truly hurting.

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    Children Don’t Experience Mental Illness

    Very young kids can show early signs of mental illnesses. Often times mental illnesses in children are a byproduct of their upbringing and home life, but not always.

    It’s unfortunate to know that less than 20% of children and adolescents with mental health problems are able to get necessary treatment. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other needs related to development.

    People With Mental Health Problems Are Typically Violent And Unpredictable

    Those with mental illnesses are not more violent or dangerous than the rest of the population.

    They are, however, more likely to harm themselves, or to be harmed by others such as police, peers, coworkers, etc.

    People with mood and anxiety disorders can still be violent, but realistically so can anyone. It’s not fair to place blame on something like status of someone’s mental health when comparing to criminal behavior.

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    In fact, police forces typically don’t take mental health into account. They usually don’t have proper training and misinterpret encounters with people who have mental illnesses. This creates a ripple effect which makes citizens believe that there is a negative/criminal quality possesses by those who aren’t mentally stable.

    In reality, police officers don’t know how to deal with these issues, so they simply criminalize what they don’t understand.

    Next time you hear someone refer to a person with a mental illness as ‘crazy’ or ‘insane’ it is completely justifiable to point out that it is not alright to use such shaming language. It is important to question how using those kinds of harsh words can segue into negativity and breed generalizations that are frankly not true.
    What other misconceptions are out there? Have you faced these yourself or witnessed them in your lifetime? Share your stories below to help educate the readers of this post.

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    Robert Parmer

    Freelance Writer

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    Last Updated on April 8, 2020

    Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

    Why Assuming Positive Intent Is an Amazing Productivity Driver

    Assuming positive intent is an important contributor to quality of life.

    Most people appreciate the dividends such a mindset produces in the realm of relationships. How can relationships flourish when you don’t assume intentions that may or may not be there? And how their partner can become an easier person to be around as a result of such a shift? Less appreciated in the GTD world, however, is the productivity aspect of this “assume positive intent” perspective.

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    Most of us are guilty of letting our minds get distracted, our energy sapped, or our harmony compromised by thinking about what others woulda, coulda, shoulda.  How we got wronged by someone else.  How a friend could have been more respectful.  How a family member could have been less selfish.

    However, once we evolve to understanding the folly of this mindset, we feel freer and we become more productive professionally due to the minimization of unhelpful, distracting thoughts.

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    The leap happens when we realize two things:

    1. The self serving benefit from giving others the benefit of the doubt.
    2. The logic inherent in the assumption that others either have many things going on in their lives paving the way for misunderstandings.

    Needless to say, this mindset does not mean that we ought to not confront people that are creating havoc in our world.  There are times when we need to call someone out for inflicting harm in our personal lives or the lives of others.

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    Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of Pepsi, says it best in an interview with Fortune magazine:

    My father was an absolutely wonderful human being. From ecent emailhim I learned to always assume positive intent. Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry. If you take away that anger and assume positive intent, you will be amazed. Your emotional quotient goes up because you are no longer almost random in your response. You don’t get defensive. You don’t scream. You are trying to understand and listen because at your basic core you are saying, ‘Maybe they are saying something to me that I’m not hearing.’ So ‘assume positive intent’ has been a huge piece of advice for me.

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    In business, sometimes in the heat of the moment, people say things. You can either misconstrue what they’re saying and assume they are trying to put you down, or you can say, ‘Wait a minute. Let me really get behind what they are saying to understand whether they’re reacting because they’re hurt, upset, confused, or they don’t understand what it is I’ve asked them to do.’ If you react from a negative perspective – because you didn’t like the way they reacted – then it just becomes two negatives fighting each other. But when you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.

    “Assume positive intent” is definitely a top quality of life’s best practice among the people I have met so far. The reasons are obvious. It will make you feel better, your relationships will thrive and it’s an approach more greatly aligned with reality.  But less understood is how such a shift in mindset brings your professional game to a different level.

    Not only does such a shift make you more likable to your colleagues, but it also unleashes your talents further through a more focused, less distracted mind.

    More Tips About Building Positive Relationships

    Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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