By Thrive Waco Therapist Katherine Moore, MA, LPC-Associate
A widespread lack of knowledge about mental health exists, fueling misconceptions, stigmas, and stereotypes around the topic. Much of this societal misunderstanding about mental health is due to inaccurate media portrayals, including overly dramatized, inaccurate, and even mocking images of mental illness. Despite the falsities plaguing cultural conversations around mental health, awareness about the topic continues to grow. To shine light on the mental health discourse, dive into some mental health fiction and facts below.
SIX MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH
1. Mental health struggles are signs of weakness.
Rather than weaknesses, mental health struggles are signs of our humanity. Through professional mental health support, individuals can dive deeper into their inner selves while addressing their mental health conditions as legitimate, treatable concerns. In doing so, individuals can develop foundations of acceptance and self-compassion and learn to harness their strengths for ultimate personal growth.
2. Depression and anxiety are problems you can just “get over.”
The symptoms of depression and anxiety aren’t just feelings that can be solved with the misplaced advice to “suck it up” or “stop worrying.” Instead, depression and anxiety can be severe illnesses that overwhelm individuals’ abilities to function normally. The complexity of these conditions requires professional treatment and therapeutic guidance in order to target the root causes of their struggles. Through therapy, individuals can learn to effectively cope with their symptoms, diminish the negative effects of depression and anxiety, and make strides toward healing.
3. Since you can’t see mental illness, it isn’t real.
From filling cavities to stitching up cuts, individuals naturally seek professional medical attention to address physical ailments that are outwardly visible and involve corporeal pain. With mental health struggles, however, it’s less commonplace to seek professional support, possibly because mental illnesses are in essence invisible with the pain being less tangible and harder to convey.
But just as individuals go to the doctor when their bodies are sick, when their minds are unwell, they should seek the support of mental health professionals who specialize in treating the most complex organ in the body — the brain.
4. Taking medication for mental health effectively means “giving up.”
Many take medication to treat headaches or allergies. Similarly, the benefits of psychiatric medication in managing symptoms of mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, shouldn’t be ignored. When implemented in conjunction with therapy, medication can be a powerful strategy for healing mental health struggles.
5. Attending therapy is something to be ashamed of or embarrassed by.
Therapy is a normal, practical, and effective way to maintain one’s overall well-being, heal psychological wounds, and grow as a person. Trained in evidence-based modalities, a therapist offers an unbiased, professional perspective and a safe space for their clients to process their experiences. Seeking services for mental health signifies one’s strength, resilience, and motivation to persevere when faced with life’s inevitable adversities.
6. Men are less likely than women to experience mental health issues.
While research shows that women are more likely to experience anxiety and depression — with depression occurring in 10% of women in contrast to 5% of men and anxiety occurring in 23% of women versus 14% of men — higher rates of anxiety and depression in women may be due to the increased tendency of women to express their emotions rather than a lower prevalence of these conditions among men. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 25% of women have received mental health treatment in the past year compared to 13% of men, suggesting that the increased tendency of women to discuss their mental health struggles may be due to societal norms that are more encouraging of emotional vulnerability in women than in men.
By nourishing your mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being, you can provide yourself with a grounded foundation for embracing your authenticity, developing rewarding relationships, reaching your goals, creating more positive life experiences, and so much more. With the guidance of Thrive’s therapists, psychiatrists, and other specialists, you can nurture your mental health so you can achieve the comprehensive sense of well-being you deserve. Reach out to learn more about our integrated mental and behavioral health services.
About the Author
Thrive Waco Therapist Katherine Moore, MA, LPC-Associate
Katherine’s areas of clinical focus include mood disorders (such as depression and anxiety), adjustment, identity, self-esteem, life transitions, relationships, as well as grief and loss. She’s passionate about facilitating growth, providing empathy, and forming genuine connections with clients. Katherine believes that we all have stories that shape us and make us who we are, and she feels honored to create a safe space where an individual’s story can be shared. She hopes that all clients feel seen and heard during sessions with her and that through the process of therapy they discover new insights, awareness, authenticity, and self-agency.
Katherine earned her Master of Arts degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor as well.
Quality time is one of Katherine’s top love languages, and when not at Thrive she can be found sharing that time with those she cares for, browsing bookstores, watching the same shows repeatedly on Netflix, exploring the outdoors, and traveling.