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3 common misconceptions or stigmas surrounding mental health

What does “mental health” means to you? Is it the same as being happy? or is it simply the absence of mental illness? There are several common misconceptions and stigmas surrounding mental health that persist in society and it's important we understand certain differences

We will all have a different approaches to mental health and will experience it differently. But what is true, is that we all deal with a certain amount of struggles and we are all fighting our own fights. Some of the most common misconception surrounding mental health conditions are:

1. Mental illness is a sign of weakness: One prevalent misconception is that experiencing a mental health issue implies weakness or a lack of willpower. In reality, mental health conditions are complex and can arise due to a variety of factors, including biological, genetic, and environmental influences. They are not a reflection of personal strength. Mental health struggles can affect anyone, regardless of their character or willpower

I remember being in my teenage years and going through a hard time with myself. I gained a lot of weight, changed how everyone know me and suffered eating disorders. When I told my family I thought I needed help, they didn’t know how to react and ignored me like it was nothing. They probably thought I could overcome what I was going through simply by thinking positively or changing my mindset, but I had to endure and heal myself without any help or support because of their missconceptions and lack of knowledge around mental health issues. So, by developing awareness and breaking stigmas, you could actually help a friend or a family member going through a difficult time and learn to be compassionate about it

2. Mental health conditions are permanent and untreatable: This misconception suggests that once someone develops a mental health condition, they will be permanently burdened by it. Labelling someone for having suffered a mental health issue will only trigger old patterns in people when they are trying to heal. It's important to know that with proper treatment, support, and self-care, people can effectively manage their mental health and lead fulfilling lives. Recovery and improvement are possible for many people with mental health conditions.

I don't let any of those experiences I lived define who I am. I am not my weight, I am not my fears, I am not my doubts. I am much more than that, and whether is you or someone you know that's going through a mental health condition, know there are options and support to overcome and live a happier and healthier life

3. People with mental health conditions are violent or dangerous: This misconception perpetuates unfounded stereotypes and generalizations about people with mental health conditions. The vast majority of people with mental health issues are not violent or dangerous. In fact, they are more likely to be victims of violence rather than perpetrators.

Not every mental health condition will reflect the same way and everyone is different. So please be mindful and respectful when meeting someone with a mental health condition. Know that compassion is the best way to respond and remind yourself we are all going through something in our lives.

If we educate ourselves in mental health matters, we will be able to understand better, open dialogue, support, and foment empathy as essential tools for breaking down these barriers and ensuring that anyone facing mental health challenges receive the understanding and assistance they deserve.


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