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Mental health myths that need busting

It’s been said a lot, we need to talk about mental health. But there are some mental health myths we still hear today that are stopping us from talking. Celebrating Mental Health Week, we’re looking to bust some of the most common myths in our community.

Myth #1: You’re either ‘Normal’ or ‘Mentally Ill

We can all feel anxious, worried, or isolated at times but mental health is a spectrum. Some people with a mental health diagnosis may find that their symptoms do not prevent them from living the life they want, and some people without a diagnosis may experience mental health symptoms that affect many areas of their lives. Instead of thinking about illness, think about suffering and its effects, everyone can experience suffering, and we need support and access to mental health services.

Myth #2: If you have a mental illness you’ll never get better

Most mental health problems are temporary. With the right support, even those with persistent symptoms can find ways to manage and reduce the impact of their symptoms. Getting better doesn’t always mean a lack of symptoms. For some, it may be that their symptoms don’t interfere with their lives, while for others, getting better means finding ways to work with their symptoms, rather than trying to prevent them.

Myth #3: Mental illness only affects a few people

Wrong! Research has found that mental illness affects around one in five Australians, and around half the population will report experiencing a mental health issue in their lifetime.

Myth #4: People with a mental illness are unemployable

People who suffer from mental illnesses are found in all occupations, and in all walks of life. Those who are severely affected may require assistance in finding employment, or reasonable accommodations within their workplace, but most people will experience symptoms at times, and these will not affect their ability to work.

However, stigma and shame can make it difficult for those suffering from mental illness to disclose what is happening to them. If there’s a lack of understanding about mental health in the workplace, people can also feel uncomfortable or unsafe at work, even when they haven’t told anyone about their condition.

Myth #5: Talking to a counsellor means you are unwell

Speaking to a counsellor about why you’re feeling stressed or to work through a challenge is an excellent example of self-care for your mind, in the same way we exercise and eat well to look after our physical health.

If you need support or know someone who does, find out more about our counselling services or call our team on 13 18 19. If you need to speak to someone immediately, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or 000 in emergencies.

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