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3 Mental Health Myths Your Therapist Is Sick of Hearing

It's great that more people are talking about mental health, but not everything you hear is necessarily true. Don't fall for these 3 mental health myths!

Dreamy style illustration of a person with blue swirls emanating from their head, sat resting their arms on their knees

Mental health is a complex and sometimes controversial topic. Only in the last 10 years or so has it become a subject that people are willing to discuss in the public sphere.

While it’s great that attention is finally being paid to important issues like mental illness and psychological wellbeing, this context means that there are many half-truths and straight up falsities that are being accepted as fact.

With this in mind, we decided it was time to debunk some of the most common mental health myths that our therapists are tired of busting. Let’s go!

1. Mental illness is a sign of weakness

This view is a hangover from a time when people didn’t talk openly about mental health. If something is never discussed, it can give the impression that it is rare or unusual. As a result, those dealing with mental health issues often felt alone and carried a lot of shame. While strides have been made, this is unfortunately still the case for some today.

The mix of stigma and lack of knowledge also feeds into the assumption that those experiencing setbacks in their mental health are weak in some way. People with psychological disorders are sometimes labelled as overly sensitive, or even violent and dangerous. This is not the case.

Mental illness is just like physical illness in the sense that, while some people may be predisposed to certain conditions due to genetics or life events, it can affect anyone. In fact, everyone’s mental health will go through good periods and bad ones over the course of their life.

The bottom line: suffering from poor mental health is not a sign of failure or weakness—it’s an inevitable side-effect of living in the world.

2. You only need therapy if you have a mental health issue

Dreamy style illustration of a therapist with short hair and glasses, sat looking at a document with an empty chair opposite them

Many people view therapy as something you turn to when you need to fix a problem. This is perfectly fine—therapy does indeed provide effective treatment for many conditions and can help you to navigate difficult life events. However, this is not its only application.

Regular (or even occasional) therapy sessions can help you to maintain good mental health, work towards life goals, and develop skills like communication and relationship-building. This is why it’s a good idea to make room for it in your life before your mental health deteriorates. In fact, by the time you accept that you might need therapy, it’s likely you’ve reached a mental health crisis that could have been avoided.

The sceptics amongst you may think therapists only say this because they’re interested in lining their own pockets. The truth is, a lot of people are now enjoying the benefits of treating therapy like any other form of self-care, like a gym membership or a beauty treatment. Of course, this is something of a luxury as therapy usually comes at a cost. If you’re not sure whether it’s worth it, you can always start with a single session.

The bottom line: everyone can benefit from therapy, no matter the current state of their mental health.

3. Mental health and physical health should be treated separately

Say it louder for the people at the back: mental health and physical health are deeply intertwined!

If someone is suffering from a physical illness, some consideration needs to be given to the mental toll this can take on their body. For example, if you break your leg and are no longer able to go out for your daily walk, there’s a high chance you will experience some low moods as a result. On the flip side, if you are going through a bout of depression, going out to get fresh air and stretch your legs can give you a mental boost.

Are we saying that physical exercise can cure conditions like depression? Not at all. However, it is now widely established that physical activity can help people dealing with issues like depression and anxiety.

Our bodies are not split between the physical and psychological—we are one whole being. As a result, a problem in one area is inevitably going to have some kind of knock-on effect elsewhere. This needs to be taken into account when addressing mental health issues.

Of course, when your mental health is suffering, being physically active can feel like the last thing you want to do. Nobody is expecting you to go for a 5K run, but if you take it in small steps, getting any kind of physical movement in can improve your mindset. Start by opening a window to get fresh air, then maybe step outside, and then see if you can walk to the end of the street and back. Anything you can muster the energy to do will be beneficial.

The bottom line: when addressing mental health, the role of physical movement and wellbeing should be taken into consideration.

That's 3 mental health myths well and truly busted! Be sure to check out the rest of the ManageMinds blog for more guides and tips on this topic.

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