Mental health issues
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Mental Health Myth Busting

Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,010

Scope community team

edited September 2020 in Mental health issues
@RAwarrior had the good idea of starting a 'mental health myth busting' thread in the comments on my recent post on World Suicide Prevention Day 2020, as there are so many myths surrounding mental health issues.

What is a mental health myth?

A mental health myth is a common opinion or conception of mental health, or mental illness, that is not based on truth.

What is an example of a mental health myth?

You can read more about common myths surrounding mental illness on the Time to Change website, but some examples include:
  • People experiencing mental illness can't work
  • Children and young people can't experience mental illness
  • People with mental illnesses are just 'weak', and should 'get over it' 

Why is it important to try and get rid of these myths?

It's important to fight back against common misconceptions on issues surrounding mental health as these can contribute towards the stigma surrounding mental illness. Stigma can lead to many people feeling ashamed of the problems they are experiencing, which can cause them to avoid seeking the help and support they need and deserve. You can read more about stigma and misconceptions of mental health problems on the Mind website.

What can I do to help get rid of the myths surrounding mental health issues?

Good question! I think there are two main ways we can all help in the fight back against mental health myths (there are some more ideas on the Mind link above, too):
  • Facts: we can all arm ourselves with the facts on mental illness
  • Experiences: by sharing our own experiences, we can show people what it's really like to experience mental health issues
Please don't feel any pressure at all to share anything that you don't want to, but we'd love it if you could share any facts you know of, or any experiences you might have had, that can help to 'bust' the myths surrounding mental illness :)

I'll start us off:

Myth: mental illnesses are rare, and it's not something that could happen to me or my family and friends
Fact: 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England (Mind)

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Replies

  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 9,122 Disability Gamechanger
    Very valid post , I do not suffer from any mental illness but have had a period of depression which fortunately didn't last too long

    But I must admit it is only coming on here that has opened my eyes to the effects this can have on people and how mental health can affect physical health 

    It is something i am going to find out more about and will be looking to do some form of mental health study

    I hope this post gets lots of replies 
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,010

    Scope community team

    Thank you @janer1967 :)

    Good luck with your studying!
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  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 3,357 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2020
    I’ve had a few situations where because of mental health problem my judgement has been ignored entirely, this both by my family and by health professionals. 

    One occasion was a few years ago when I suddenly experienced raging tinnitus. I saw my doctor and to give him credit he arranged an mri scan which found nothing untoward but then I saw a tinnitus expert, the best in this country actually as he quickly told me, and that’s when I found that my opinion, that I had some inner ear problem, was totally ignored once he realised I’d had a mental health problem. He even wrote as much to my doctor, a copy of which I received. My psychiatrist then suggested that as an experiment we significantly raise my medication! I pointed out that a side effect of the medication can be tinnitus itself and he ignored my objection totally. I tried the experiment and it had no effect on my tinnitus. I still have raging tinnitus and the inner ear problem which caused it even after the medication was lowered again.

    I could quote many other examples but they are all the same in that my opinion is somehow invalid due to my mental health. I expect that to some degree from the health professionals but it’s harder to ta take when the bias is from your own kith and kin.

    so the myth might be, you can’t trust the judgement of someone with a mental health issue, and as a blanket statement I’d argue that this is fallacious. 
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,010

    Scope community team

    That's a good one @leeCal. I'm sorry that you were made to feel as though your judgement wasn't to be trusted, I can see how that would be really invalidating.
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  • 66Mustang66Mustang Member Posts: 4,637 Disability Gamechanger
    My myth would be that everyone’s mental health problems can be dealt with in the same way, much like physical health problems.

    As an example, 2 people with a broken leg can be treated more or less the same, after all most peoples legs work roughly the same way, but 2 people with a mental health issue will need completely different treatment as everyone’s minds work completely differently and the mind is so much more complex than the physical body.

    I have experienced this even with professionals with psychologists literally reading to me out of text books and then being surprised when the techniques don’t work. I think people need to understand that everyone’s mind is very different. :)
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,010

    Scope community team

    Good point @66Mustang. Everyone's mind works differently, and we all carry different life experiences with us that can impact the way we react to different treatments. 

    That must have been frustrating! Some talking therapies are more structured than others, but they should always take the individuals' needs and experiences into account. Treatments for mental illness definitely aren't a 'one size fits all' thing.
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  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 430 Pioneering
    Hi @Tori_Scope

    Thank you so much for starting this thread and for providing lots of very useful information😁

    I think some of the myths include:

    Other people thinking that a person with mental health issues is making it up. 

    People thinking telling someone “ to move on” “Pull themselves together” or “ To forget about it” helps when it doesn’t.

    People labelling people with mental health issues as mad or crazy.

    People assuming that someone with mental health issues is weak.

    People who condone bullying and harassing not accepting that there can be long term health implications as a result.

    People refusing to accept that mental health is just as important as a physical health.


  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,652 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you for this @Tori_Scope, really interesting.
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  • DragonslayerDragonslayer Member Posts: 897 Pioneering
    It seems today that mental health has become very fashionable. It appears to be on every news broadcast on TV.
    I know it as a fact because like many, or all disabled people I have to deal with and handle it on a daily basis.
    Since becoming disabled I find myself watching TV and notice simple things in shows, films, series even adverts. and see people doing simple things like just walking and running. Things I took for granted myself a few years ago. Now I am unable to do such things, but still yearn to do so. 
    Like a great deal of men I waved mental health issues away, thinking them to be a sign of weakness. Now however I have to deal with such thoughts and issues 24hrs a day.
    I feel sorry for myself for instance, wondering. Why me? What happened? Will I ever be able to do the things I always wanted to do, or yearn to do again, or is this it?
    Mental health excists, it is real. I know that now, I have to deal with and struggle with it daily. It is a constant fight to drive yourself forward and keep going on sometimes.
    It is not a new fashion, nor is it a joke.

  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,010

    Scope community team

    Some really good ones there @RAwarrior! Thank you for coming up with the idea :) 
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  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,010

    Scope community team

    I'm sorry to hear that you've been struggling @Dragonslayer.

    Mental illness is definitely a serious issue, and it's not something that's always covered too well in the media. A personal pet peeve of mine is the romanticisation of mental illness. I think that's why it's so important that people feel able to share their own authentic experiences, but only if they want to of course.

    As a side note: are you accessing any mental health support at the moment? It's understandable that you'd be feeling this way, but there are things you can try to help ease the negative thoughts.
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  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 3,357 Disability Gamechanger
    These days a lot of people talk about mental illness, talk a lot, but it is actually very difficult to find anyone who is doing anything about mental illness in my experience.

    i was recently trying to help my son who was having difficulties and it was virtually impossible to get him help because he was refusing to seek help himself. This wasn’t a light touch of depression or anxiety it was almost full blown psychosis and no one would help until we made it plain that there was a serious danger of him doing violence to himself. It’s actually not that easy to get the right treatment at the right time. The mental health system is constantly fighting with backlogs and I believe it is still underfunded.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,010

    Scope community team

    I agree @leeCal. Mental health services are really underfunded, and it means that people do often struggle to get the help they need, unfortunately. We can all only do our best, and try and look out for each other and ourselves. I also hope that if we continue to talk about it, and raise awareness, that there'll be more funding for mental health services in the future as it'll be taken more seriously by policy-makers.

    How is your son now, if you don't mind me asking? 
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  • leeCalleeCal Member Posts: 3,357 Disability Gamechanger
    edited September 2020
    @Tori_Scope basically three crisis team people visited him and told him that if he continued in his present behaviour they’d need to section him, it was very serious and he was damaging the family and approaching strangers, difficult to explain. Since they recommended that he sees a health anxiety expert things have been much more stable but as he doesn’t keep in contact it’s hard to tell exactly how he is. I think he is slowly recovering. 

    What started this was lockdown. He self isolated for three months in on single room and became obsessed with his health, thinking he may have Covid all the time. He became hypersensitive to his body. He has cerebral palsy and so he is used to aches and pains but he developed more and other ailments. It got completely out of hand and he hated his family and friends. It was awful. hopefully he is doing better now but I’m not overly confident that he’ll be seeing the health anxiety expert very much as he doesn’t keep appointments usually.

    thank you for asking.
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,010

    Scope community team

    I'm glad things are at least a bit more stable now @leeCal. I hope that he is making some progress in his recovery.

    That sounds very difficult for all of you, health anxiety can be really debilitating. Fingers crossed he's keeping at least some of the appointments, and that things will continue to ease with time. 999 and the crisis team are there if he needs it, too. 
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  • DragonslayerDragonslayer Member Posts: 897 Pioneering
    I'm sorry to hear that you've been struggling @Dragonslayer.

    Mental illness is definitely a serious issue, and it's not something that's always covered too well in the media. A personal pet peeve of mine is the romanticisation of mental illness. I think that's why it's so important that people feel able to share their own authentic experiences, but only if they want to of course.

    As a side note: are you accessing any mental health support at the moment? It's understandable that you'd be feeling this way, but there are things you can try to help ease the negative thoughts.
       @[email protected]_Scope Thanks for the concern. I am fine and not seeking help at the moment. I was for while, but not now. I just get on with things and like most just feel down sometimes. 
    It may be a thing to look into for future reference and I'm sure someone on here will help with that, if the need arasies. 😊
       
  • Tori_ScopeTori_Scope Posts: 4,010

    Scope community team

    Glad to hear it @Dragonslayer :) It's perfectly fine to feel down sometimes, as long as you make sure to look after yourself. 

    Yep, we're all here if you ever need it!
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  • RAwarriorRAwarrior Member Posts: 430 Pioneering
    @Tori_Scope

    You’re welcome😁

    Another issue is the way that hospital departments operate because usually unless it’s urgent, one consultant is not permitted to refer you to another consultant so if someone has developed mental health issues as a result of their disability, the consultant can’t refer them to a psychiatrist.

    Many people with chronic health conditions suffer from depression and anxiety but unfortunately this is not incorporated in routine outpatients appointments.


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