Debunking Top Myths about Mental Health: Part 1

words mental health spelled out in small blocks
Photo by Total Shape on Unsplash

There are many myths about mental health and mental illness that are promulgated by the media. The movies, tv shows, books, and other media we consume may feature stories related to mental health that give an incomplete picture. As doctors and mental health practitioners, we hope to share the facts and shatter any misconceptions about mental health illnesses, and encourage those to get the help that they need. 

Here are some of the most common myths about mental health and why they are wrong:

Myth #1: Having a mental illness means you are crazy.

This is one of the worst stigmas out there and completely erroneous. Having a mental illness does not mean you are crazy. Experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder amongst other distressing mental health issues means you are experiencing challenging symptoms. Distressing mental health issues can cause you to behave out of the ordinary. It can make you experience destabilizing mood swings, or distort your reality, but it does not mean you’re crazy. It makes you someone who is vulnerable, and who is human – all of us are susceptible to disease and a mental illness is a disease that needs to be treated just like any other.

Myth #2: People with mental illness are violent and dangerous.

At least 20-30% of the entire world’s population will have a diagnosable mental health condition at any given point. However, only a tiny fraction of those diagnosed with a mental illness will have violent tendencies. The truth actually shows that people with mental illnesses are 10 times more likely to be victims of a violent crime than the general population.

This stigma comes mainly from very few, highly-publicized events where someone happened to have an untreated, poorly controlled schizophrenia or anti-social personality disorder but in fact, only 3-5% of violent acts total can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness.

Myth #3: Once mentally ill, always mentally ill.

It is absolutely possible to fully recover from mental health problems. Many people undergo cognitive behavioral therapy, medication management, and other techniques and treatments. For those experiencing a more severe mental health problem, it is still absolutely possible to find ways to manage those symptoms by working with a professional. If you are mentally ill and feeling as if you will not recover – do not lose hope and have perseverance. There are ways to manage it and live the life that you want.

Myth #4: Psychiatric medications are bad and can change my personality.

Psychiatric medications are not only beneficial in improving symptoms but can also be life-saving especially for those experiencing severe symptoms. Just like antibiotics are needed to treat strep throat, psychiatric medication can be essential to one’s recovery and management of symptoms. There is also a common misconception that mental health medication can change one’s personality for the worse. However, most mental health medication helps to correct a chemical imbalance in your brain; it will actually will help you feel more like yourself and live the life that you want.

Myth #5: Children do not experience mental health problems, they’re just going through a phase.

Around 10% of children (aged 5 to 16 years old) have a clinically diagnosable mental health illness. Furthermore, current statistics provided by the World Health Organization find that 1 out of 7 between the ages 10 to 19 have a diagnosable mental illness. How can a parent know whether one’s child is going through “just a phase” or a mental illness? Look out for the following warning signs:

– Feelings of sadness lasting for more than 2 weeks.
– Withdrawn behavior and no desire to see friends; sudden overwhelming fear accompanied by racing heart and hyperventilation that get in the way of daily activities.
– Severe and uncontrollable behavior that can hurt themselves or others, drastic changes in behavior and personality.
– Getting into multiple fights using a weapon or seeking to actually hurt someone.
– Not eating anything or throwing up food.
– Extreme difficulty in concentration or “staying still”.

If you notice these signs or any other concerning behaviors, it would be helpful to speak with a professional.

Myth #6: I must have been a bad parent.

The causes of a mental illness are complex and not rooted in a single factor. It is true that a child’s relationship with their parents and home environment can impact and worsen a psychiatric disorder. However, we have seen many cases where children develop a mental illness even if they grew up in safe and loving home environments. Mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression, as well as autism and learning disorders, have roots in biological factors. Parenting is not necessarily to blame.

Children are growing up in a world much more complex due to the prevalence of social media, online bullying, and the constant 24/7 news cycle – no wonder we have seen anxiety levels soaring amongst children. However, it is important to emphasize that parents do play a central role in helping their children obtain the required support and care towards recovery.


Do you find yourself succumbing to negative thought patterns? We are licensed psychiatrists, nurse practitioners and psychotherapists that believe in integrating the Gospel message into mental health treatment and counseling, as well as reducing the stigma and prevalence of mental health disorders. Contact us now to learn more about treatments, or just to receive a brief consultation about the need for treatment.

Found this post useful? Please consider donating to Oak Health Foundation, which is a 501(3)c nonprofit dedicated to providing resources regarding holistic mental healthcare and subsidized treatment for those in need.

Related Posts

Grieving and bereavement: how to cope with the loss of a loved one

Grief: How to Cope With the Loss of a Loved One

Grief is incredibly powerful, complex and overwhelming. Grief is a shared human experience that all of us have or one day will experience. The thing ...
Keep Reading →
Man looking dejected and downtrodded: how to overcome feelings of unworthiness

How To Overcome Feelings of Unworthiness

Feelings of unworthiness will creep up on us from time to time. However, when you feel like you can’t shake off these feelings and you’re ...
Keep Reading →
Women sitting in office looking bored and apathetic

When You Don’t Care About Anything –  How to Cope with Apathy

Are you feeling uninterested, indifferent, and unmotivated in your schoolwork, professional life, hobbies, or things that used to interest you for a prolonged period of ...
Keep Reading →

Give to Oak Health Foundation

Orange County, California | connect@oakhf.org

Copyright © 2023 Oak Health Foundation | Web Design by FroBro Web Technologies

Renew & Revive Spiritual Group Sign Up

This Renew & Revive (R&R) group is a program established by the team at Fully Health to provide a comprehensive approach to address all our needs – physical, mental, and spiritual. Through attending these complimentary group sessions, you will learn about the good news of Jesus Christ and how God will intervene during our journey toward achieving healing and greatest potential.

All individuals 18+ are welcome to attend! You do not need to be a Fully Health client or patient to attend. This service is free of charge. Please note, these sessions are not a clinical service. You may come and go as you like. We would be happy to have you whenever you may be available to join!

Wednesdays 7:30 – 8:30 pm on Zoom

What to expect from R&R
– To deeply understand, believe, and enjoy the Gospel, and know who I am
– To be able to have any question answered without judgment. For example, “Why am I struggling so much even though I have faith?” and “If I seek psychiatric treatment, does that mean my faith is small?”
– To experience the ability to fight the spiritual battle in life, especially regarding mental health struggles around me
– If Jesus is the Christ who solved my fundamental spiritual problem that led to all the “bad fruits” of life, then He is the answer to any other problem (mental and/or physical) that I may face on this earth.