In recent years, mental health is a hot topic that has been gaining tons of attention. As this topic is becoming increasingly popular, mental illness has been represented in movies, music videos, and song lyrics to name a few. Despite some of these representations being depicted accurately, more often than not, they aren’t which leads to the creation of stereotypes.
One of the most common stereotypes that must be addressed is that seeking help for mental health is a sign of weakness. Seeking help does not mean weakness, rather it means strength. Unfortunately, due to this stereotype, many people struggle to acknowledge that their mental health is not at its best, which in turn delays and in some cases prevents, seeking professional help. Analyzing this topic further, some believe that going to a medical professional without a diagnosis is weird. Going to a medical professional for any reason should not be avoided, especially when it comes to mental health.
A common misconception about mental health that is dangerous to society is that people can’t have mental illnesses if they look happy, have a healthy home life, and have a lot of money. People who are always smiling can struggle with mental health. People who have supportive parents and friends can also struggle with mental health. People who look like they have the “perfect” life can also struggle with mental health. Mental illness is not something that can always be seen from the outside. No matter how untroubled someone looks from the outside, they may be suffering on the inside.
A safer community, one that is free of stereotypes, cannot be created overnight. In fact, an environment unaffected by stereotypes, hate, and misconceptions is just unrealistic. The solution is to become educated and then educate others. Help is out there. Help is waiting for you. Don’t feel afraid to address your mental health. Would you disregard a splinter in a finger? Probably not, right? Well, your mental health is just as valid as your physical health, so, don’t shy away from the various opportunities to get assistance.
Graphic: Isabella Harelick