10 Common Myths of Mental Illness

10 Common Myths of Mental Illness
Mental illness, also known as mental disorders or psychological disorders, is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, and behavior. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 1 in 4 people globally suffer from mental health issues. Yet, there are many misconceptions and myths surrounding mental health that contribute to the stigma and discrimination faced by those living with mental illness.
In this blog, we will explore myths about mental health and debunk them with factual information.

Misconceptions of Mental Illness

Mental illness is a complex and highly stigmatized subject, which has led to the spread of false beliefs. Those struggling with mental health conditions often face judgment discrimination and find it challenging to get the help they desperately need.
Let’s explore myths about mental health that are still prevalent in society and learn the truth behind them.

Myth 1: Mental illness is a personal weakness

Mental illness is not a personal flaw or weakness. It is a medical condition caused by various factors, including genetic predisposition, environmental influences, and life experiences. Just like any other physical illness, mental health issues require proper treatment and support.
It’s not uncommon for people to think that individuals with mental illness should “snap out of it” or “get over it.” However, such statements only worsen the condition and delay seeking help.
According to the mental health advocacy organization NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), 1 in 5 adults in the United States experience mental illness each year. It’s time to recognize mental health as a medical condition and show empathy towards those struggling with it.

Myth 2: Children cannot have a mental illness

Mental illness can affect anyone, regardless of age. In fact, half of all mental health disorders begin by the age of 14, and 75% by the age of 24. Children and adolescents can experience mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, and eating disorders.
Unfortunately, many parents dismiss their child’s behavior as a “phase,” leading to delayed diagnosis and treatment. It is crucial to recognize early signs of mental illness in children and seek professional help.

Myth 3: Mental illness is rare

As mentioned earlier, 1 in 4 people globally suffer from mental health issues. This means that mental illness is more common than we think. However, due to stigma and lack of awareness, many individuals do not seek help or talk about their struggles openly.

It’s essential to understand that mental illness is not a rare occurrence, and anyone can develop it at any point in their life. Seeking help early on can improve the chances of recovery.

Myth 4: Medication is the only treatment for mental illness

While medication can be an essential part of managing mental health issues, it is not the only treatment option. Therapy, lifestyle changes, and self-care practices can also play a significant role in improving mental well-being.

It’s crucial to work with a mental health professional to determine the best treatment plan that suits an individual’s needs. What may work for one person may not necessarily be effective for another.

Myth 5: People with mental illness are violent

Contrary to popular belief, individuals living with mental illness are not more violent than the general population. In fact, they are more likely to be victims of violence themselves.

Mental health conditions can affect a person’s behavior, but that does not automatically make them dangerous or aggressive. Unfortunately, media portrayals often perpetuate this myth, leading to further stigma and fear towards those with mental illness.

This misconception only adds to the discrimination faced by those with mental health issues, making it harder for them to seek help and integrate into society.

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Myth 6: Mental illness is a lifelong condition

While some mental health conditions may require long-term treatment, many individuals can recover from their illness and lead fulfilling lives. With proper support and treatment, people living with mental illness can manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.
It’s essential to understand that recovery looks different for each person, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. It’s crucial to provide ongoing support and resources for those on the road to recovery.

Myth 7: Mental illness only affects certain types of people

Mental illness does not discriminate based on race, gender, socioeconomic status, or any other factor. It can affect anyone at any time.

Unfortunately, due to stereotypes and societal expectations, certain groups of people may face more stigma and barriers to accessing mental health care. It’s vital to recognize these disparities and work towards creating a more inclusive and accessible mental health care system for all.

As society becomes more diverse, it’s crucial to have mental health resources and support available for all individuals.

Myth 8: Mental health issues are just a phase

Mental illness is not something that can be “outgrown” or dismissed as a phase. It requires proper treatment and support to manage effectively.

Ignoring mental health concerns or dismissing them as temporary issues only prolongs the suffering and can lead to more severe symptoms in the long run. It’s essential to take our mental well-being seriously and seek help when needed.

Myth 9: Only "weak" people need therapy

Therapy is not just for those who are struggling or feeling “weak.” It can be beneficial for anyone looking to improve their mental health and well-being.
Talking to a therapist can provide valuable insights, coping mechanisms, and support in managing life’s challenges. Seeking therapy does not make a person weak; it shows strength and courage in taking control of one’s mental health.

Myth 10: Mental illness is not as severe as physical illness

Mental health conditions can be just as debilitating and life-threatening as physical illnesses. However, due to stigma and lack of understanding, they may not receive the same level of support or attention.

It’s crucial to recognize that mental illness is a serious medical condition that requires proper treatment and support. Just like physical illnesses, it can significantly impact a person’s daily life and well-being.

When we dispel these common myths and misconceptions surrounding mental health, we can create a more supportive and inclusive environment for those struggling with mental illness. It’s time to have open and honest conversations about mental health and show empathy towards those who may be facing their own battles.

How the Myth of Mental Illness Can Prevent Recovery

By perpetuating these myths and misconceptions, we are only contributing to the stigma surrounding mental health. This stigma creates barriers for those seeking help, leading to delayed diagnosis and treatment.

When individuals believe that mental illness is rare or only affects certain types of people, they may be less likely to recognize symptoms in themselves or seek help when needed. This delay can lead to more severe symptoms and a longer road to recovery.

Furthermore, by portraying mental illness as a lifelong condition or something that can be “outgrown,” we are invalidating the experiences of those struggling with their mental health. This not only hinders their recovery but also adds to the shame and isolation already felt by many individuals.

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Why It's Important to Educate Ourselves About Mental Health

The first step in breaking down these myths and dismantling the stigma is to educate ourselves and others about mental health. By learning the facts and understanding the realities of mental illness, we can better support those struggling with their mental well-being.

It’s also essential to recognize that our words matter when it comes to addressing mental health. Using stigmatizing language or perpetuating myths can be harmful and hurtful to those living with mental illness. Instead, we should strive to use person-first language and educate ourselves on proper terminology when discussing mental health.

Most importantly, it’s crucial to show empathy and compassion towards those dealing with mental health issues. By being understanding and providing support, we can create a more accepting environment for those in need.


Mental illness is a complex and often misunderstood topic, leading to many myths and misconceptions. By educating ourselves and others about mental health, we can break down the barriers and stigma surrounding it. Let’s work towards creating a more supportive and inclusive society for all individuals struggling with their mental well-being. Together, we can dispel these myths and provide the necessary support for those on their journey to recovery. 

Remember, mental illness is not a weakness or something that can be easily dismissed; it’s a serious medical condition that deserves our attention and understanding.


Title: Mental Health Myths and Facts

Link: https://www.samhsa.gov/mental-health/myths-and-facts 

Written By: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Published On: 24 April, 2023

Title: 10 Common Myths About Mental Illness

Link: https://aneweratms.com/10-common-myths-about-mental-illness/ 

Written & Published By: Anew Era TMS & Psychiatry

For more information and guidance related to Mental and Behavioral Health, get in touch with our specialized Adult Mental Health Expert!
Dr. Lubna Siddiki MD
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Dr. Lubna Siddiki MD
Dr. Lubna Siddiki is a board-certified Adult Psychiatrist. She specializes in treating adults struggling with various mental health disorders, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and more. Dr. Siddiki believes in a holistic approach to mental health treatment and works closely with her patients to develop personalized treatment plans that focus on their overall well-being. She is dedicated to helping individuals improve their behavioral health and lead fulfilling lives.