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5 Myths about Mental Health We Need to Stop Believing

A woman talks to her therapist, who is taking notes during their session.


Despite the growing interest in and awareness of mental health, many myths around the topic persist with the same dogged determination as the weeds in your driveway. And unfortunately, these misconceptions: 

  • Bar individuals with mental health conditions from seeking help because of stigma, and
  • Discourage people from taking care of their mental health until it's too late.

What can we do to turn these two unfortunate outcomes around? Answer: education, the most powerful weapon against mis- and disinformation. So, below, find five common mental health myths—busted.

#1: Mental health conditions are a sign of weakness

A 2021 survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Vida Health found that 47% of 2,000 respondents believed that only weak people go to therapy. But here’s the truth: mental health conditions are not signs of character flaws or shortcomings. While scientists still aren’t sure of the exact cause behind mental disorders, research suggests that it comes down to a combination of biological (e.g., genetics and infections), psychological (e.g., trauma suffered as a child), and environmental factors (e.g., death or divorce)—most of which are beyond an individual’s control.   

#2: There is no cure for mental health conditions 

Individuals with mental health conditions can experience improvements over time. Many recover completely. And this 2022 study published in Clinical Psychological Science is proof. After analyzing data from a 2012 national Canadian survey sample (consisting of more than 23,000 participants), the researchers found that 67% of individuals with any mental condition in their lifetime met symptomatic recovery—meaning they no longer meet the diagnosis criteria for a particular disorder—at the time of the study.

#3: Mental health conditions only affect adults 

Children and adolescents are not immune to mental health concerns; research shows many psychological problems and illnesses begin to unravel in childhood. Worryingly still, statistics suggest worsening mental health in children and adolescents. According to a 2020 NSCH Data Brief, 13.2% of U.S. children and adolescents (aged between 3 and 17) had a current, diagnosed mental or behavioral health condition between 2018 to 2019—a 60% increase from 2007

#4: Only people with mental health conditions need to look after their mental well-being

Only individuals struggling on the mental health front need to take care of their mental health…right? No. Most people agree that preventative well-checks with your physician are important to keep your body healthy and prevent future injury or illness. If you think it's silly to wait until you're sick before taking care of your physical health, why doesn't the same theory apply to your emotional well-being? You know what they say: prevention is better than cure

#5: It’s expensive to care for your mental health  

Therapy can benefit anyone, but it can be expensive (therapy generally ranges from $65 per hour to $250 or more). What if you don't have the budget for that? While nothing can replace one-on-one care, here are a few low-cost and free ways of supporting your mental wellness:

If you do want or need therapy, the following may lower your cost outlay:

  • Use your insurance (if applicable)
  • Ask your therapist about sliding scale options, “bulk” rates, or shorter sessions
  • Work with a psychologist in training
  • Check out online therapy services (these tend to be cheaper than in-person sessions)

To learn more about how you can take better care of your mental health, check out the following articles: 

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