What Are Mental Health Myths?

I like to bounce around many topics here on My Brain’s Not Broken, especially surrounding anxiety and depression. However, one of my other favorite things to do is break down myths surrounding mental health. Usually it happens on a whim, when I feel there’s a need to debunk a certain aspect of mental health. The more that I do this, the more I see a need to debunk and breakdown these mental health myths. Right now I feel inspired to break down these myths, and I want to explain how I’ll work to do this in future posts.

You might not realize it, but there are a ton of myths out there about mental health. For decades (if not centuries), we’ve talked about mental health in harmful and taboo ways. We’ve treated people who experience mental illness as less than human. We’ve denied people the care they need because we’re uncomfortable with their struggle. Even though these things don’t happen as often as they used to, its impact is still felt.

There are many facets to this misunderstanding of mental health. One of the big ways is the way we talk. Using words like crazy, psycho, insane, or calling people bipolar or depressing are some of the ways this stigma has affected our language. We don’t know how to talk about mental wellness because we’ve been using the wrong vocabulary.

Another way that mental health myths have been built is how it’s viewed in modern culture. In America, people constantly look for life-hacks to help them maximize every aspect of their lives. But you can’t ‘hack’ your mental health; it’s something that needs to be addressed and worked on daily. In a culture fixated on productivity, mental health is usually one of the first things tossed to the side.

While more people are talking about mental health these days, there’s still a big task ahead of us. We have to undo generations’ worth of misconceptions and misunderstandings about mental health. We’re trying to start new conversations about things that have gone ignored for centuries. We’re being honest about pain that millions of people have been hiding/ignoring for years. And changing those conversations takes time, patience and creativity.

That’s why I’m introducing a new feature on the blog. Mental Health Myths will break down the long-believed myths about mental health. I’ll talk about what they are, where they came from and how they still exist today. By breaking down some of these myths, we can build something new. We can build a healthier attitude toward mental health. We can build a better perspective toward this aspect of our wellness. We can take better care of ourselves and treat ourselves the way we deserve. And that starts by acknowledging the misconceptions around mental health that many of us – myself included – have had for years.

Are there any “mental health myths” you’ve learned on your mental health journey? Maybe I’ll break them down in a future post! Share your thoughts in the comments below.

12 thoughts on “What Are Mental Health Myths?

  1. taureanlearning August 9, 2022 / 11:05 am

    Myth I can think of is only young people are impacted,elders can deal with their mental health and don’t need help

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nathan Smith August 9, 2022 / 3:44 pm

      That’s a great one! There’s a big misconception that older people should ‘know themselves’ well enough at their age and that mental health challenges aren’t as difficult. Thanks for sharing – I’m gonna look into this one for a future post!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Keren August 28, 2022 / 9:38 pm

    I don’t know if these count as myths exactly.. but the first things that popped into my head when I read this was:
    – The very common misconception that therapy is only for people with mental health issues, when in fact, if more people were in therapy, I think the world would be a little more compassionate.
    – That people who have mental illnesses have a fixable problem, for example, when I get depressed (and I’ve had Bipolar 1 since I was a teenager), I had a friend that would tell me to get outside, or just change my thought patterns.. like I’ve never thought of those things. Simple, easy shit doesn’t fix severe mental health issues.
    End rant. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nathan Smith August 29, 2022 / 9:22 am

      I agree, there’s a huge misconception around who should/shouldn’t be in therapy when in reality, anyone can benefit from that time. The insistence on having our mental illnesses fixed is also something that contributes to the mental health stigma, but I’m glad you’re speaking up have sharing your experience. Thanks for sharing!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Keren August 29, 2022 / 9:27 am

        Thank YOU for looking at myths, it’s much needed! And I’m very glad you’re speaking up too, common misconceptions do absolutely lead to stigma, and it needs to be discussed! Keep up the good work!


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