Mental Health: Harmful Myths and Misconceptions

Managing one’s well-being is a balancing act between physical and mental health. With much emphasis on physical well-being over the past few decades, many may have neglected their mental health. This is especially true, when we consider how society has long championed and rewarded a culture of overworking, and have treated mental wellness issues as taboo

Thankfully, things seem to be looking up. The importance of mental health has been gaining visibility over the past few years. With the ongoing pandemic, we also see an increasing spotlight on related issues that have been previously swept under the rug.

However, misconceptions about mental health conditions still exist. What are the misconceptions about mental health issues that we need to address as a society? We explore four harmful myths and misconceptions about mental wellness.

Mental health problems are rare

Struggling emotionally and mentally is a condition more common than you think. Depression, one of the most common mental disorders in the world, affects approximately 264 million people globally. To put that into perspective, this figure is 52 times that of the Singaporean population!

Closer to home, local studies have also shown that one in every seven Singaporean are suffering from, or has experienced, a mental problem at some point in their lives.

People suffering from mental disorders are dangerous and violent

Though there have been instances of dangerous and violent conduct prominent in the media, most mental health patients do not exhibit these tendencies in their everyday lives. The truth is, those who suffer from mental disorders are usually no more violent than an average person. In fact, as mental disorders such as depression may cause one to feel a loss of self-worth and sadness, they are more likely to be victims of violence, discrimination and prejudice than to be violent themselves.

Mental health problems are a sign of weakness

Mental health setbacks are can occur in our everyday lives, and should not be viewed as sign of weakness. Much like any other disease, it is important that we understand that mental disorders are also legitimate health conditions.

In the same way, mental disorders are also not something that patients can control. They are not lazy or weak — in fact, some people are genetically predisposed to certain conditions. Overcoming a mental health condition takes time, and one does not simply “snap out of it”. For many people living with mental disorders, learning how to cope with its challenges is a never-ending process that requires unimaginable strength. 

People can’t recover from mental illness

Every individual’s battle with mental illnesses is different, and for many, it may be a long battle. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. With the help of appropriate treatment and the support of loved ones, it is possible for patients to find relief and live a satisfying life despite the illness. 

If you are struggling mentally or know someone who needs help, please know that you are not alone. Consider teleconsulting a mental wellness professional on the WhiteCoat app at your discretion, and receive the help you need at your discretion. Click here for more information on our Mental Wellness service, or click here to go back to the blog.