Mental Health Myths – Learn The Truth

Myths are misconceptions we have towards others that change the way we think. They can cause barriers to treatment and impact how we relate to each other. Here are 10 common mental health myths we should stop believing and the truth everyone needs to know.

Myth: Mental Health problems don’t affect me.

1 in 5 American adults has experienced a mental health issue. Chances are either you or someone you love is currently living with a mental health problem.

Myth: People with mental health needs cannot tolerate the stress of holding down a job.

Employers who hire people with mental health problems report that they are on par with another employee in almost every way. They tend to be punctual and deliver high-quality work. Some barriers do remain. With treatment, they can also:

  • Increase productivity
  • Reduce absenteeism
  • Lower medical and disability costs

You can learn to manage the stress of work by practicing effective stress management skills. These skills can work for everyone, including those with mental health challenges.

Myth: Personality weakness or character flaws cause mental health problems.

Mental health problems have nothing to do with being lazy or weak. Many things factor into whether a person develops a mental illness:

  • Genetics and brain chemistry
  • Physical illnesses and injuries
  • How they’ve learned to process emotions, stress, and traumatic events
  • History of abuse or other traumatic events

It takes great strength to live with a mental health problem and even greater willpower to admit you need help from people who will hear you. These are brave individuals.

Myth: I can’t do anything to help a person with mental health problems.

An estimated 8.4 million people are currently caring for someone with mental or emotional challenges. Friends and loved ones make a big difference. When families and friends work to establish the most stable and supportive environment possible, this can significantly change how a person with mental health problems experiences symptoms and life. Family and friends can also encourage a person with mental health problems to get professional support.

Myth: People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.

Most people with mental illness are not violent. Those with mental illness commit only around 3% of violent crimes. In fact, according to The Lancet, “People with mental illness are much more often victims of violence.”

Myth: There is no hope for a family member with mental health problems.

One study showed that around 33% of people living with a serious lifetime mental illness have been in remission for at least 12 months.

People want to be heard. They want to know that others understand what they’re feeling and experiencing is real to them. When someone takes the time to truly listen to them and help them come up with solutions that will work for them, they can recover.

Myth: Only people without friends need therapists.

How often have you been sitting with a friend who is sharing something horrible, and you don’t know what to say? You’re afraid you’ll say something “wrong” and “make them feel worse”. Even though we care about this person, we don’t always know how to help. A trained therapist can address issues constructively and in ways that even the best of friends cannot match.

Myth: Eating disorders are a lifestyle choice.

These are serious mental health conditions. Certain events or abuse can change how the brain and the body respond to food. When this happens, how a person eats is no longer a choice, at all. However, with professional support, they can begin reclaiming their personal choice.

Myth: People with bipolar are moody.

Bipolar does not cause mood swings. People with bipolar disorder have alternating episodes of mania and depression, which can last for months before changing again. Mania is a state of extreme energy and elevated mood. Depression is its opposite.

Myth: Seeking help will leave you ostracized.

Don’t let perceptions keep you from getting the help you need. A more likely outcome is that people will support your brave choice to get help.

Mental Health Specialists at Jonas Hill

Don’t let myths like these keep you from finding someone who will listen and facilitate recovery. We are here to help. If you’re living with fear, know that anxiety is a protection mechanism we develop to stay safe physically, mentally, and emotionally. Still, when that fear prevents you from living your best life, it’s time to discover a new way. You are heard here, and we invite you to explore Treatment Options.


Jonas Hill Hospital & Clinic, a division of Caldwell Memorial Hospital, provides our community with safe, dignified and integrated care for adult patients experiencing an acute mental health need. We provide hope, treatment, and healing through a holistic program of evidence-based psychiatric treatment, team-based medical care, and education provided by engaging and dedicated professionals in a safe and healing environment. Contact Jonas Hill Hospital and Clinic today at (828) 394-6722 for more information. A safe space to heal.