Mental health problems continue to be a growing concern in the UK, with the ongoing impact of COVID-19 only exacerbating the situation. Following on from ‘Time to Talk Day’ which was a day dedicated to trying to get more people comfortable about talking about Mental Health, we thought we would debunk a few of the more common myths.
Myth 1 – Mental Health problems are rare
Fact – 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem, which means someone you know may be struggling with mental ill-health.
Myth 2 – I can’t do anything to support someone with a mental health problem
Fact – There are a lot of things you can do to make a difference in their life, such as:
- Check in
- Listen and don’t judge
- Treat them in the same way
- Ask twice
Myth 3 – People with mental illness are unable to work
Fact – People with a mental illness can hold down a successful job, especially with the right support from the workplace. In fact, we probably all work with someone experiencing mental health problems.
Myth 4 – You can’t recover from mental health problems
Fact – They might not go away forever but lots of people with mental health problems still work, have families, and lead full lives.
Myth 5 – People with mental health problems are usually violent and unpredictable
Fact – Most people with mental health problems, even those with severe ones like schizophrenia, are not violent. Statistics actually show that someone with a mental health problem is more likely to be a victim of violence than inflict it.
Opening Up Is Not a Sign of Weakness
Unfortunately carrying a typical British ‘stiff upper lip’ is still rooted in society and therefore opening up about mental health illness or challenges can feel like you are going against the grain, or that you have a personal and social weakness. Suicide continues to be the leading cause of death in the UK for men under 50; often attributable to the stigma around mental health and being told to ‘Man up or deal with it’
Humans, however, are social creatures by nature, and though resilience in society is highly valued allowing people to bounce back and not allow every challenge to de-rail their life, this is a double-edged sword if you are made to feel like a failure if you need help. So next time you are worried about opening up to people, ask yourself: why is seeking help from family, peers, friends or professionals a bad thing when we thrive on interaction? Talking to others about mental health should be natural and accepted if we as a society want to go back to our roots and end mental health stigma once and for all.