Hopeful Minds Services

Breaking the Stigma: Myths and Facts About Mental Illness

May 09, 2024
Breaking the Stigma: Myths and Facts About Mental Illness
May is Mental Health Awareness Month —a time to learn the facts, dispel the myths, and support those struggling. Here are just a few of the misconceptions about mental illness.

Mental Health Awareness Month, observed every May, provides an opportunity to talk about mental health, a long overdue dialogue. It’s a month when we emphasize the critical nature of mental well-being, yet it’s just a drop in the ocean compared to the year-round need for understanding and acceptance.

In a society where myths still shroud the truth about mental health, Dr. Oluranti Adepoju and our Revive Holistic Psychiatry team in Weymouth, Massachusetts, want to shed light on the topic. 

Our holistic approach focuses on the interconnectedness of mind, body, and environment. Dr. Adepoju employs a variety of treatment methods, including medication, psychotherapy, lifestyle modifications, and complementary therapies, such as meditation, nutritional counseling, and exercise, to support your overall well-being. 

Our personalized treatment plans target the root causes of your mental health problems, not just the symptoms. In many ways, healing begins with education, so let’s start with the facts that crush the common myths surrounding mental illness.

Myth: Mental illness is not a real medical condition

Fact: Mental illness is based in biology

Contrary to popular belief, mental illnesses are not mere flights of fancy or exaggerated states of the mind. These conditions have a strong biological basis, often rooted in genetics, personal experiences, and other influences. Research consistently points to brain structure and function abnormalities, chemical imbalances, and altered neural pathways.

As medical professionals, psychiatrists can attest to the diagnostic processes — many of which involve thorough examinations of a patient’s physical health, lab tests, and, in some cases, imaging studies. 

The field of neuroscience continually demystifies and treats mental health conditions, indicating that mental illness is as tangible as any other bodily ailment.

Myth: People with mental illness are violent and dangerous

Fact: Most people with mental illness are nonviolent

One of the most pernicious myths surrounding mental health is the association of mental illness with violence. Statistics and scholarly research consistently refute this notion. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “Only 3%-5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of a violent crime than the general population.” 

This misconception exacerbates social stigmas and does a disservice to those who need support and understanding the most. 

Myth: Mental illness is a sign of weakness

Fact: Seeking help for mental illness is a sign of strength

There’s no room for the “pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps” attitude when it comes to mental health. Acknowledging struggles and seeking help require immense strength and a shift in your perception of what it means to deal with an internal battle. Those coping with a mental health condition daily while navigating a world that often misunderstands them epitomize resilience.

Admonishing yourself or others for simply needing assistance isn’t only unjust, but it also perpetuates an environment hostile to care. It’s time to celebrate the courage it takes to recognize your struggles and reach out for help.

Myth: Medication is the only solution for mental health issues

Fact: Holistic psychiatry approaches mental illness from all angles

The myth that medication is a one-size-fits-all solution for mental health disregards the complexity of the mind and the multifaceted nature of human wellness. Dr. Adepoju’s holistic psychiatry approach recognizes this complexity, and she uses a range of multidisciplinary tools to support your mental health.

For example, therapy, lifestyle modifications, and self-care practices are integral components of our holistic approach to mental wellness. 

When we prescribe medication, we tailor it to you, often as part of a broader treatment plan. Rather than masking the problem, this integrated method addresses it with sensitivity to your overall well-being.

We also offer a comprehensive medication management service that aligns with our holistic philosophy. Our specialists customize prescription plans, monitor their efficacy, and make adjustments as necessary. We take pride in leveraging the latest in psychiatric medication, including but not limited to:

  • Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications to alleviate mood-related disorders
  • Stimulants and non-stimulants for ADHD to enhance focus and concentration
  • Mood stabilizers and antipsychotics for conditions that involve disturbances in thinking and emotions
  • Medication-assisted treatments (MAT) like Suboxone® for opioid use disorder and the innovative Spravato® for treatment-resistant depression

Furthermore, we believe in optimizing treatment through supplementary support, offering vitamins, supplements, and gene testing services such as GeneSight® and Genomind™. 

We hope that this guide has shed light on the reality of mental illness, moving beyond the shadows of stigma to a place of acceptance and genuine care. If you or someone you know is grappling with mental health concerns, call Revive Holistic Psychiatry, or request an appointment online.