Mental Health Issues Still Incredibly Misunderstood
Every counselor, therapist and psychic deals with the issues of mental health everyday in their chosen field. Whether it be the person you are trying to help understand the drama they are in everyday is brought on by their own imbalanced thinking or those who have to deal with the mentally unbalanced, bi-polar or stressful behavior of ones they love or are associated with. Mental health issues scatter across such a broad spectrum of behavior that it is common to put them all under the same definitions…challenging, frustrating, fearful or just plain crazy!
Even though we have embraced the causes and treatment of drugs and alcohol, mental health is still a taboo subject and carries the stigma of shame. Mental issues are completely misunderstood on what it is and how to deal with it. As with any energetic imbalance of the mind, acceptance of self and willingness to change is keynote in healing. As a counselor and therapist of over 20 years, here are some common definitions of how most people perceive mental health issues and some suggestions to view it differently.
11 Common Misconceptions
- Mental health issues are a weakness in character. Like physical health issues, the onset of mental health issues can be linked to traumatic events, chemical imbalances, or genetics. Postpartum depression and menopause are a perfect example of imbalances of chemicals in the body that brings about emotional imbalance that is perceived as a mental disorder.
- People who have mental health issues can be unpredictable and dangerous. Mental health conditions are not any more likely to cause them to be violent, more likely to be the receiver of violence in their vulnerability.
- Anyone who experiences mental health issues are “crazy” and will remain that way. Maintaining mental health is just as important as maintaining physical health. Mental health conditions are common. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that approximately 1 in 5 Americans experiences a mental health issue in any given year. Avoiding the use of derogatory terms for mental health issues is imperative to stop the shaming.
- If someone appears productive and high-functioning, it’s not possible they are suffering from a mental health condition. Just because someone appears to be functioning well in no way lessens the potential seriousness of a mental health condition. With treatment, many people can usually function normally. On the downside, because of the stigma, they may also hide their condition from everyone. Assuming mental health conditions are the same thing as having a bad day can lead to embarrassment and shame, which in turn makes it much more difficult for people with mental health issues to reach out for help. Don’t minimize days and days of depression as just sadness.
- Most people with a mental issue or condition can get well on their own without professional help. Professional help is important, whether it be through therapy, counseling, drugs or the naturopathic route, it should be addressed. Activities such as meditation, yoga, exercise, adequate sleep, a healthy diet, and a fulfilling social life can help. If you feel you cannot afford the care, don’t have the insurance coverage, then seek out government or mental health assistance channels. They do exist.
- Mental health problems are predominantly genetic in nature. Mental health problems are not caused solely by bad genes or a biological chemical imbalance, according to research. Any health care professional, doctor, or mental health advocate who claims otherwise is telling you a half-truth to forward their own, unspoken agendas. Mental health imbalances are as widely diversified as physical diseases.
- Mental health disorders are often life-long and difficult to treat. Individuals with a newly diagnosed disorder such as depression or anxiety are usually given medication and told they will have to stay on them for “As long as you need to.” Be clear with your doctor or therapist of an end game for medication as most of them are prescribed for a short-term ride. Don’t be afraid to ask “how long?” and expect to get an answer.
- Psychotherapy takes forever and gets into childhood issues. This is a myth and holdover from the older days of psychotherapy. Modern psychotherapy is now short term and solution oriented. Most short-term psychotherapy approaches use a cognitive-behavioral model, which emphasizes the irrational thoughts which lead to dysfunctional behaviors and feelings. Results sometimes can be seen within a few weeks.
- If I admit I have problems, everyone will think I’m crazy and I might go to the “looney bin” and not ever get out. Crazy is a generic term which is meaningless. Everybody is crazy a little bit, some of the time. Having a mental disorder doesn’t mean you’re crazy. It just means you have a problem, similar to a medical problem, which needs treatment like the flu or a disease.
- Being suicidal means I’m crazy. Suicidal feelings are most often symptoms of depression or a related mood disorder. Feeling suicidal does not make you any more or less crazy than anybody else. We all have thoughts about it at one time or another when life gets tough.
- Mental health professionals monetarily take advantage of people with mental health issues. At one time, when treating mental issues were still in the dark ages, this might have been the case. But no longer. Due to the vast expansion of managed care into the mental health field over the past 6 to 7 years, mental health care is often the lowest paying, longest work day healthcare profession. They are there because they want to be and want to help.
Psychic Susan Z’s Verdict
Mental health issues can only be addressed if they are first recognized, then acknowledged. After that point, with support from family and friends, faith in a divine being and the desire to not feel mentally unbalanced, healing will happen. Only the person who suffers with the condition can make the choice to change. Encourage them, support them, help guide them and try to as the old saying goes; “put yourself in their shoes for moment” when you can’t understand why they are the way they are.
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Susan Z Rich is an emotional addiction counselor, spiritual intuitive and holistic therapist. She counsels others to see life in a more positive way and teaches personal accountability for life choices. She is also the author of several children’s books and Soul Windows…Secrets From The Divine.