Mental health is a sign of weakness – myth or reality? The expert explains

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Mental health problem is a sign of weakness – myth or reality?

Mental health today has become a priority for people of all age groups and all walks of life. Often this is taboo, even in our most comforting inner circle. In many real-life cases we have seen that mental health issues have no face – a seemingly carefree person with a coterie of friends and loving family around suffers from some sort of trauma.

Depression is one of the common mental health problems resulting from a complex interaction of social, psychological and biological factors. Young adults can also suffer from depression or anxiety for no easily identifiable reason, according to a study based on the UNICEF and World Health Organization’s Teacher’s Guide to the Magnificent Mei and Friends.

Dispelling mental health myths can help break down stigma and create a culture that encourages people of all ages to seek help when they need it. Here are seven common misconceptions about mental health:

1. Myth: If a person has a mental health problem, it means they have low intelligence.

Fact: Mental illness, like physical illness, can affect anyone, regardless of intelligence, social class, or income level.

2. Myth: You only need to take care of your mental health if you have a mental health problem.
Reality: Everyone can benefit from active measures to promote their well-being and improve their mental health. Similarly, everyone can take active steps and engage in healthy habits to optimize their physical health.

3. Myth: Poor mental health isn’t a big deal for teens. They just have mood swings caused by hormonal fluctuations and act out of a desire for attention.
Reality: Teenagers often have mood swings, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have mental health issues too. Fourteen percent of adolescents worldwide suffer from mental health problems. Globally, among 10-15 year olds, suicide is the fifth most common cause of death, and among adolescents 15-19 years old, the fourth most common cause. Half of all mental health problems begin at age 14.

4. Myth: Nothing can be done to protect people from developing mental health problems.
Reality: Everyone can benefit from active measures to promote their well-being and improve their mental health. Similarly, everyone can take active steps and engage in healthy habits to optimize their physical health.

5. Myth: A mental health problem is a sign of weakness. if the person were stronger, they would not have this condition.
Reality: Mental state can deteriorate even if a person’s life seems good at first glance. Such problems can affect anyone, regardless of their physical and mental prowess.

6. Myth: Teens with good grades and lots of friends won’t have mental health problems because they have no reason to be depressed.
Reality: Young people who do well in school may feel pressure to do well, which can cause anxiety, or they may struggle at home.

7. Myth: Bad parenting causes mental disorders.
Reality: Socio-economic factors such as poverty, unemployment, and exposure to violence, migration, and other adverse circumstances and events could also aggravate mental health problems.

The ability to overcome adversity relies on a combination of protective factors, and neither environmental nor individual stressors alone will necessarily lead to mental health problems.
A mental health problem has nothing to do with weakness or lack of willpower. It is not a condition that people choose to have or not to have. In fact, recognizing the need to accept help for a mental health problem takes a lot of strength and courage. Anyone can develop a mental illness.

Many factors can protect people from developing mental health problems, including building social and emotional skills, seeking help and support early, developing warm, loving, and supportive family relationships, and a positive environment and healthy sleeping habits.

(This article is attributed to Richa Vashista, Chief Mental Health Expert, AtEase)

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not reflect the views of India TV)

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