The number of misconceptions about mental health and mental illness is both staggering and saddening. While the stigma surrounding mental illness is decreasing, there is still a significant amount of misinformation. Perhaps the most common misconception surrounding mental health is that you don’t have to work to nurture your mental health. Mental health, like physical health, requires maintenance. Just like you have to provide nutrition and movement to sustain your physical health, you must also nourish and exercise your mental health. At The Last House, we love to talk about mental health. We are here to help you learn more about your mental health and provide any support that you might need.
What Is Mental Illness?
The National Alliance on Mental Illness defined mental illness as a condition that affects an individual’s thinking, feeling, behavior, or mood. Mental illness often impacts a person’s day-to-day life and their ability to relate to others. One of the most common misconceptions surrounding mental health is that mental illness is rare. Researchers have found that one in five adults in the United States experiences mental illness each year. Additionally, one in six youth aged six to seventeen also experiences mental illness each year. Mental illness is rarely the result of one event but results from a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle. Mental health disorders and mental illness are not indicators that someone is broken or needs to be fixed.
What Are Common Mental Illnesses?
There are many different mental health disorders, and most affect your mood, behavior, or thinking. It is not unusual for someone to be diagnosed with more than one mental illness. Common mental illness categories include anxiety disorders, behavioral disorders, eating disorders, substance use disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, trauma disorders, and more. While anxiety disorders include obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorders, and phobias, behavioral disorders include illnesses such as Attention Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Oppositional-Defiant Disorder (ODD).
Other mental illnesses can be tied to food or substances. This is the case with drug and alcohol use disorders, anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. Personality disorders include borderline personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. Mood disorders can involve fluctuations between moods, as is the case with bipolar disorder, or persistent, unchanging mood as is the case with depression. Trauma disorders are tied to the experience of living through a traumatic experience, while psychotic disorders like schizophrenia often include hallucinations and delusions. Sadly, suicidal thoughts and behavior can accompany all of the various mental health disorders.
What Is the Most Common Misconception Surrounding Mental Illness?
When examining what is the most common misconception surrounding mental illness, there are a lot of misconceptions from which to choose. However, one of the most common and most damaging is that those with mental illness are violent and/or unpredictable. The truth is that those with mental illness are not more likely to engage in violence. Instead, those with mental illness are ten times more likely to be the victim of violent crime. Often, we are surrounded by people who are actively coping with mental illness, and we don’t even know it.
How to End the Stigma Around Mental Illness Today
Ending the stigma around mental illness begins with openly discussing mental health. Mental health and mental illness need to be discussed openly rather than in hushed whispers. You would never expect someone to feel shame for a medical diagnosis, and we must approach mental illness in the same way.
The Last House is a network of structured sober living homes in the heart of West Los Angeles. We believe in providing our clients with the tools to participate in their sobriety and nurture their mental health. We help you learn how to live through service commitments, sober parties, conventions, dances, and house outings.
At The Last House, you’ll learn how to have a meaningful life filled with fun in sobriety. Composed of active members of the Los Angeles Sober Living community, our staff is familiar with many recovery support groups in the area. So if you’re wondering how to create your sober life, The Last House is here to help.