May has been designated “Mental Health Awareness Month” in order to bring awareness to mental illness in America. In my years as a social worker, I have heard many people speak about mental illness as something to be kept secret. Some people are ashamed that they are not well and hesitate to seek help as a result.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I will be discussing 5 myths about mental illness and seeking mental health care. I will also include a bonus post about self-care. This is the first of a 4 part series to be posted throughout the remainder of May. My goal is to help you better understand mental illness and mental health treatment, as well as to offer some ideas on how to get help if necessary. Please share with anyone who might benefit from this information!
Here are the topics I will cover over the next 10 days:
- Myth #1: Mental illness means I am crazy and will always be crazy.
- Myth #2: Mental health treatment is not available in my area.
- Myth #3: Mental health treatment is too expensive.
- Myth #4: Mental health treatment doesn't really help.
- Myth #5: I will be forced to take medication.
- Bonus: Self-care benefits us all.
Let's get started.
Myth #1: Mental illness means I am crazy and will always be crazy.
Not so. Crazy is a word often applied with little concern or compassion for those experiencing mental illness. I do not believe having any sort of mental illness makes you "crazy." I believe it means you are facing a challenge that can be managed and often overcome with time, patience, hard work, support and professional help.
My challenge to all of my readers is to watch your language. No, I'm not talking about swearing or anything along those lines. What I am asking is that you observe how often you use the word "crazy" to describe someone. Unfortunately, it has become socially acceptable to label someone behaving in an odd or out of control manner as being "crazy" rather than acknowledging they may be dealing with mental illness. Let's change this bad habit and practice acceptance instead.
Learn more by reading the rest of the series!
Mental Health Awareness Month: Myths and Facts, Part 2
Mental Health Awareness Month: Myths and Facts, Part 3
Mental Health Awareness Month: Bonus Post!