Myths. Stories told throughout the ages. When we used to think of myths, we thought of them as whimsical stories to tell around. However, now myths are seen as something to be cautious with. Myths spread easily and can twist information. When it comes to mental illness, or mental health challenges, myths bring about misinformation on the topic. From people thinking those with mental health diagnoses are violent or homeless to the stigma associated with receiving a diagnosis of a personality disorder, people shy aware from the truth on mental health.
Myths spread so easily thanks to social media and traditional media. So often, villains are seen as “mentally ill,” and as the scapegoat why people do horrible things as a school shooting. Especially, with social media it, it is so easy to spread false information about mental health. People use diagnoses, such as bipolar or OCD, as adjectives to describe things that don’t really correlate to such disorders. A person can be moody and will be labeled as “bipolar.” When one researches what bipolar consists of, one learns the complexity of it and how it really goes beyond just polar opposite “moods.”
To combat such fake news, it is important to familiarize oneself with what exactly is a certain mental health challenge. For example, what is the difference between social anxiety and a phobia? What exactly is OCD? What exactly is sociopathy and psychopathy or as they are known now as antisocial personality disorders?
In addition, it is important to know the effect words have on mental health discussions. Stigma is a prime reason why many do not seek mental health services. We need to change the way we discuss mental health. When someone has a broken leg, we do not tell the person to cheer up and look at the bright side to encourage them to walk. So why would we do the same to someone who has depression.
Also, we need to validate the work mental health specialists do. We need to show that therapy works and that it is important to recovery.
Furthermore, we need to broadcast the importance of mental health challenges. Share this webpage. Look up positive insightful videos on YouTube and share them to others. Listen to appropriate mental health podcasts. And let’s avoid personalities who discuss mental health in a negative light.