Mental Illness; Debunking the Myths

Hi everyone
Thanks for reading

There are many myths about mental illness. This is the reason that persons with mental illness and their families suffer from stigma. Hence such persons do not get the kind of medical care they require.

In view of that , will take time to debunk these myths today . You are Welcome

Myth 1 Mental illness is not in my family; so it will never affect me

This is the commonest myth. Most of us think that we are above mental illness. The truth is that ANYBODY and I mean anybody can suffer from Mental illness. Some cases arise from head injury, brain tumour, substance abuse, alcoholism and even Vitamin deficiencies. In addition some persons may go into depression or suffer from post traumatic stress disorder after a bad/traumatic experience like, wars, road traffic accidents, fire outbreaks, rape, sexual abuse, kidnapping ETC. Granted there are few cases where a family may have a medical condition that predisposes them to abnormal behaviours or mental illnesses. Anybody can suffer from a mental illness.

Myth 2 Children do not have Mental illness

Again, this is wrong. Some children do experience mental illness. These symptoms may be seen even in children very young (particularly those with developmental issues). In addition children who suffer from abuse: physical, sexual or otherwise may have mental illness from very young age. It is therefore important to find out whether your child is being abused if the child becomes withdrawn, sad, stubborn, difficult to relate with and lacks motivation. All parents should please be watchful!!

Myth 3 Persons with Mental illness cannot be educated or achievers

Persons with mental illness when diagnosed and properly cared for can be great achievers. The 1994 Nobel Prize winner in Economics; Prof John Nash from Princeton University had mental illness. He is referred as ‘A Mathematical Genius’ by his colleagues. The film known as ‘A Beautiful Mind’ is based on his story. There are others: Doctors, lawyers, Engineers, athletes ETC who have achieved great heights despite having a mental illness. It then means that persons with mental illness can be educated and excel in their chosen profession. They do not have to be condemned to the dust bins or tied and hidden; they can be treated.

Myth 4 People with mental illness are Violent

Most persons with mental illness are not violent in any way. In fact they are more likely to be victims of violent crimes than to be the perpetrators. In addition, they are also more likely to harm themselves. They should therefore relate with other people in the community or at work as far as they are on their medications. Granted, there are cases where those who have severe mental illness (especially those who are not on medications) have harmed their relatives and neighbours.

Myth 5. Those with mental illness have a character flaw and will never get better

Mental illness can be caused by a lot of factors as earlier noted. Hence it is not the fault of the person who is ill. Mental illness can be treated in the hospital such that the persons get much better and continue their normal everyday life. In some cases, there is TOTAL Recovery.

Myth 6. There is nothing that I can do for a person with Mental illness

There is so much you and I can do for persons with mental illness. Persons who are mentally ill need the same as all persons who are ill: LOVE, SUPPORT AND CARE. Relatives, friends and loved ones make ‘A World of Difference’. The first step is to take the person to the Doctor like every other person who is ill. Thereafter, buy their medications, send them to school and ensure that they have a wholesome life just like every other person. They should be supported to achieve great things; treat them with respect. Do not label them with the diagnosis. In addition, learn and share important facts about mental illness.

I have done my own part in writing this piece, what about YOU?
Please share if you like it and the ALMIGHTY GOD will surely bless you.

See you tomorrow.

Published by berthaekeh

Medical Doctor/ Teacher/Author

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