[intro] A man by the name of Thomas Szasz published a book in 1961 called, The Myth of Mental Illnesses, discussing his believe that mental illnesses were unnecessary diagnosis used to excuse the behavior of moral and socially deficient people. Some people still have this view of mental illnesses, but the majority of the public have gotten to understand over the years what a mental illness is really about. Although we have come to a better understanding of it, there’s still tons of myths about it that have harmful effects on the treatment of those with psychological conditions. So, today, we’ll be talking about 5 harmful myths about mental illnesses. 1. People with mental disorders are likely to be violent. The Sun, a newspaper in the United Kingdom, released an article saying that over 1,200 had been killed by people with mental illnesses in the past 10 years in England. The statistics were true, but what they failed to inform was that 97% of the accounted deaths were from suicides. In actuality, criminal behavior in people with mental illnesses is very small, and mentally ill people are the ones who are more likely to experience domestic violence and sexual abuse. They’re more likely to suffer an intense psychological reaction to being victimized. 2. People can pull themselves out of a mental illness if they really wanted to. A popular myth, especially with people with depression and anxiety, is just that the person is being over-sensitive and could easily fix the problem. This is where the phrases, “They just want attention,” or, “They like feeling miserable,” comes into play. Mental illnesses often have a genetic factor that influences the preposition and chemical imbalances that can’t easily be conquered by shear willpower. It’s difficult to even take the first step by seeking help, and working up the courage to even admit to yourself that there’s a serious problem. Finding a therapist and having to go through a trial and error process that takes up a large amount of time and is difficult as well. Some people even choose to fight it themselves. Dealing with a mental illness can be scary, emotionally draining, and exhausting. Having to pull yourself together and fighting through while taking any ounce of support you can get … is quite difficult. 3. Love and support are the absolute cures to mental illnesses. Therapists and doctors will always tell you that social support is a very important factor when it comes to the recovery process, but it may not always be the surefire way to fix someone’s mental illness. We’ve all seen movies where a child with a serious behavioral problem or a girl who suffers from emotional outbursts is made completely better by the end of the movie because someone went out of their way to inspire a sudden realization that they, too, can be loved. It’s a touching concept, but if you expect this in real life, you’ll be thoroughly disappointed. They can be afraid of rejection in socialization. Although it’s great having someone helping and supporting you along your fight, showing that they care about you, a mentally ill person could have a hard time even believing that in the first place. Expecting progress from showing love and affection on the same level supports every single day will be harder, especially on a particularly bad day for the person that’s being helped. 4. Having a mental illness is a social death sentence. The awareness of mental illnesses and what causes them has more than doubled since the 1950s. Mental illnesses have become highly aware and have become more acceptable. More so than physical illnesses in some cases. Some even see it that having a mental illness is a sign of a greater understanding of what it means to be a human being. Ardilla Gomez found that even living near a place that offers mental health services can raise the rates of acceptance and understanding from 21% to over 80% of the population. People without mental illnesses are understanding what some people go through and are willing to go out of their way to help if they can. 5. You will become your label. This is a big fear when it comes to making the decision of going to a mental health professional. Instead of a person, you’ll feel labeled as a manic-depressive, an anorexic, a schizophrenic, etc. Some clients end up feeling like they aren’t seen and valued as a person. Rogerian therapists have pushed from first-person terminology. For example, instead of “an autistic child” you use “a child with autism”. This puts emphasis on the person and not the illness. Some researchers have even debated if telling their clients their official diagnosis is beneficial for their recovery process. If the client’s feeling like the mental disorder itself is the only thing his or her therapist or doctor is focused on, it’s highly recommended that they find a new one. If you enjoyed today’s video, subscribe to Psych2Go. Also, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.