Mental health myths: it's a weakness
Personality weakness or character flaws cause mental health problems. People with mental health problems can snap out of it if they try hard enough.
Mental health issues have nothing to do with being lazy or weak and many people need help to get better. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:
1. Biological factors, such as genes, physical illness, injury, or brain chemistry.
2. Life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse.
3. Family history of mental health problems.
Mental health issues span all ages, economic levels and geographic locations. In fact, Mental Health.Gov reports that in 2014 alone, 1 out of 5 American adults experienced a mental health issue, 1 out of 10 young people experienced a period of major depression, and 1 in 25 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.
Common issues that we face as a society, such as job stress, economic factors, and declining resources compound the issue. At reflect, we are committed to stopping the stigma of mental health issues, which we believe are the crisis of our generation. Barriers to treatment can be lowered through community efforts to amplify available services and resources, and start the conversation to remove the stigma that somehow those with mental health needs are weak.
In fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Often, those suffering with mental health issues have cultivated extensive coping mechanisms (some healthy, some destructive) in order to survive - it takes great strength to face each day when the skies are dark. Compassionate attitudes towards the nation’s mental health crisis serve two purposes, both critical: provide empathy and provide better access to quality care.
The approach to mental health is as varied as the individuals who live with mental health issues - and they’re all valuable. Some people are able to manage their mental health needs through self-care (like yoga, meditation, exercise, or peaceful rituals), some can highly benefit from engaging in talk therapy with a trusted therapist. Others find that prescribed medication is the way to go. Depending on the diagnosis, methods of treatment are individualized and designed to allow the person to regain some measure of control over their day-to-day life, whatever that means for them.
It’s imperative that we view access to quality mental health care as important as any other health care concern. Lowering the stigma also means that we judge ourselves less, too, if we find ourselves struggling. It’s not a weakness at all - and with compassionate, quality care, people with mental health issues can get better and many recover completely. But most importantly? They’ll feel supported, cared for, and valued.