Common Myths and Stigmas about Mental Illness
- i. People with mental illness are violent and dangerous.
People living with a mental illness are no more violent than any other group. They are far more likely to be the victims of violence.
- ii. People with mental illness are poor or less intelligent.
Studies show that most mentally ill people have average or above average intelligence. Many of them are brilliant authors, painters, musicians etc. Mental illness, like physical illness, can affect anyone regardless of intelligence, social class and income level.
- iii. Mental Illness is a personal weakness.
A mental illness is not a character flaw. It is an illness and has nothing to do with being weak or lacking willpower. Although people with mental illness can play a big part in their own recovery, they do not choose to become ill, and they are not lazy because they cannot just “snap out of it.”
- iv. Mental Illness is a rare, single disorder
Mental illness is not a single disease but a broad classification for many disorders. Anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, personality disorders, eating disorders and organic brain disorders can cause misery, tears and missed opportunities for countless numbers of people.
People who live with a mental illness often experience being ostracized by family, friends, employers and the public at large. A supportive, compassionate community will empower them by offering a new sense of hope which will, in turn, instill the courage and strength necessary in order to make healthy and sound decisions.