There are many misconceptions about mental illness, as well as disparities in how the mentally ill are cared for – especially in minority and low-income groups. Even with all the education and resources available, society has yet to “get it” when it comes to mental illness. That’s why it’s so important that we continue the conversation around mental illness, as well as the misconceptions – especially during May, which is Mental Health Month.
- Contrary to what many believe, mental illness is actually very common. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1 in 5 American adults have experienced a mental illness. It’s also estimated that 1 in 5 children, ages 13 – 18 have, or will have a serious mental illness. With these numbers in mind, I want you to think about the event you went to – 20 percent of those in attendance may have experienced a mental illness.
- Society tells us that mental illness is a character flaw. When, in all actuality, mental illness can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, environment, and social factors. Tons of research has been done regarding what causes mental illness, most found that a person’s gene pool, living standards, and social experiences play a large part.
- With the news coverage pinning various crimes upon those who are mentally ill, it’s no wonder the population thinks that mental illness creates monsters who only want to do harm. Mental illness covers a wide spectrum of diagnoses but generally speaking, those living with mental illness are more likely to harm themselves than harming others.
- It’s often assumed that people living with a mental illness aren’t able to hold down jobs. This is categorically untrue. A lot can, and do, hold down jobs in a variety of fields and lead pretty amazing lives to boot. Mental illnesses include a broad range of symptoms and diagnoses, so you shouldn’t assume that those living with them will all be alike and have the same capabilities. Given the right circumstances and support, any one of them can successfully hold down a career.
- Many think bad parenting should be blamed for mental illness. While it’s true that mental illness can be a result of social settings and the environment you’re brought up in, bad parenting can’t be blamed. It is more common for mental illness to stem from genetics.
While many believe that having a mental illness is something that will prevent you from leading a positive, full and successful life, that’s not always the case. With the right environmental changes, friendship circles, therapy and possibly medication, mental illness doesn’t have to be the end.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. Just a girl with and opinion and access to the Internet.