The Dark Side of Mental Health: Facts and Myths

Mar 25, 2022 | Fred Toke, Lifestyle

girl with mental health issues

According to World Health Organization (WHO), “one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.”

Sadly, many struggle with their conditions alone and in silence. They don’t know where to turn or how to ask for help, and they often feel afraid of rejection or potential consequences.

Mental health education provides necessary awareness and resources for individuals and their loved ones. It helps break the stigma associated with mental health. Additionally, it can promote efforts for treatment and recovery.

Quoting from Unicef’s website, “dispelling myths about mental health can help break the stigma and create a culture that encourages people of any age to seek support when they need it.”

Mental health education provides necessary awareness and resources for individuals and their loved ones.

Here are seven common myths about mental health:

Myth #1: If a person has a mental health condition, it means the person has low intelligence.
Fact: Mental illness, like physical illness, can affect anyone regardless of intelligence, social class, or income level.

Myth #2: You only need to take care of your mental health if you have a mental health condition.
Fact: Everyone can benefit from taking active steps to promote their well-being and improve their mental health. Similarly, everyone can take active steps and engage in healthy habits to optimize their physical health.

Myth #3: Poor mental health is not a big issue for teenagers. They just have mood swings caused by hormonal fluctuations and act out due to a desire for attention.
Fact: Teenagers often have mood swings, but that does not mean that adolescents may not also struggle with their mental health. Globally, among those aged 10–15, suicide is the fifth most prevalent cause of death, and for adolescents aged 15–19 it is the fourth most common cause. Half of all mental health conditions start by the age of 14.

Myth #4: Nothing can be done to protect people from developing mental health conditions.
: Many factors can protect people from developing mental health conditions, including strengthening social and emotional skills, seeking help and support early on, developing supportive, loving, warm family relationships, and having a positive school environment and healthy sleep patterns.

Myth #5: A mental health condition is a sign of weakness; if the person were stronger, they would not have this condition.
Fact: A mental health condition has nothing to do with being weak or lacking willpower. It is not a condition people choose to have or not have. Recognizing the need to accept help for a mental health condition requires great strength and courage. Anyone can develop a mental health condition.

Myth #6: Successful people with many friends will not have mental health conditions.
Fact: Depression can affect anyone regardless of their socioeconomic status or how good their life appears at face value. Successful people may feel pressure to maintain their quality of life, which, in turn, can cause anxiety.

Myth #7: Bad parenting causes mental conditions in young children and adolescents.
Fact: Many factors – including poverty, unemployment, and exposure to violence, migration, and other adverse circumstances and events – may influence the well-being and mental health of children, their caregivers, and the relationship between them.

  • Seek Help.
  • Share with a Trusted friend.
  • Set Yourself Free!

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.” —Fred Rogers

“What mental health needs more is sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.” —Glenn Close

“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.” —Ziad K. Abdelnour

“Where no counsel is, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14

Fred Tokè aka Dr. Tokèmon

Fred Tokė aka Dr. Tokėmon is a Clinical Psychologist by training, was a former adjunct professor at Nanyang Technological University. He is also a guest lecturer at the University Malaysia Sabah’s Faculty of Medicine. Besides teaching, he also provides clinical psychotherapy services to the downtrodden and the discouraged.

Check out Dr. Toke’s Article Archive HERE.

Follow Dr. Tokemon’s Facebook page HERE.

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