Common Myths about Mental Health Issues

On April Fool’s Day it’s common to spoof, joke, play pranks, and generally create mischief.  It’s fun! We enjoy a good laugh and a gentle relaxing of some of the social behaviors normally in play.  

We’re all aware that it’s just for the day and tomorrow everything goes back to normal.  But what if you suffer from a mental illness? Many of the myths about mental illness persist long past a single day and belief in them can add to the burden of those suffering.  

Some of the most common myths are:

  1. Myth:  People are either mentally ill or mentally healthy.
    Reality:  Just as with physical well-being, we all fall on a spectrum.  We can suffer from minor physical ailments (trick knee, anyone?) and still be considered physically healthy;  the same is true about our mental health.
  2. Myth:  Mental illness is uncommon.
    Reality:  You are not alone!  One in five Americans experiences a mental health issue in their lifetime.  One in 25 lives with a serious problem like bipolar disorder or depression.
  3. Myth:  Mental illness — anxiety, panic attacks, depression, etc. — is fake.  It’s the result of bad parenting, or a character flaw or weakness, or an attention-seeking behavior.
    Reality:  Mental illness is a real, legitimate, medical condition.  There are many factors that affect our mental health, ranging from the biological — genes, physical injury, brain chemistry — to the environmental — like trauma or abuse.
  4. Myth:  Just take a pill!
    Reality:  Get the appropriate help you need.  The most successful treatments tend to be a combination of medication and therapy.
  5. Myth:  Mental illness is untreatable; I will have this forever and it will only get worse.  I can’t handle work or school or normal life.
    Reality:  Most mental issues are highly treatable!  Many people are capable of living a normal, rich, and full life.

Sources:  Mental Health Myths and Facts (; The 5 Most Common Misconceptions About Mental Illness (Psychology Today); ”Myth-Conceptions” About Anxiety (Anxiety and Depression Association of America); 7 Common Misconceptions About Anxiety (Psychology Today)

This post is for educational purposes only and not intended to diagnose mental health issues or serve as a treatment plan.  It is for the general public and not directed at any one person.