Mental Health Myths (Part 2)
Take a look at these common myths about mental health and the truth behind them, to help you separate fact from fiction…!
Myth 1 - Children don’t experience mental health illnesses?
According to the Mental Health Foundation, approximately one in ten children and young people are affected by mental health problems. This can include depression, anxiety and conduct disorder - and can often be as a direct response to what is happening in their lives (such as school stress or bullying.)
There are a range of different people you can speak to if you feel your child may be suffering from a mental health condition – for example, a school nurse, school counsellor or educational psychologist may be able to help. Alternatively, your GP will be able to advise and may refer your child for further help.
Myth 2 - You can’t work with a mental health illness?
Incorrect. People with mental health problems can be just as productive as other employees. Whilst starting work, staying in work or returning to work after a period of mental ill-health can be difficult, it’s not impossible, and there can be many benefits to working. For example, it may give an opportunity to make new friends, improve your financial security and give you a greater sense of identity and purpose.
If you’re unemployed and want to get back into work, the staff at your local Job Centre, your GP or your mental health worker can all give you advice on the subject.
Myth 3 – “Therapy and self-help are a waste of time – just take medication”
Treatment for mental health problems can vary depending on the individual and could include medication, therapy, or a combination of both.
Self-help therapy (such as self-help books or computer counselling) can have some advantages, for example, it’s convenient, cheap and you can do it in your own time. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a form of talking therapy which focuses on how you think about the things going on in your life – your thoughts, images, beliefs and attitudes - and how this impacts on the way you behave and deal with emotional problems. It then looks at how you can change any negative patterns of thinking or behaviour that may be causing you difficulties. In turn, this can change the way you feel.
Myth 4 – “You can’t help someone with a mental health illness”
Not true. There are lots of simple, everyday ways you can support someone who has a mental health problem. Listening to them talk and reminding the other person that you are there and care for them can make a big difference. Time to Change have some great tips on ways to help people talk about their mental health problems.
Benenden has not provided any direct medical advice within this article.