Myths about mental illness

MYTH: Mental illness is caused by a personal weakness.
Reality: A mental illness is not a character flaw. It is an illness that has nothing to do with being weak or lacking willpower. Although people with mental illnesses can play a big part in their own recovery, they did not choose to become ill, and they are not lazy because they cannot just “snap out of it.”

MYTH: If I seek help for a mental health issue, others might think I’m a wimp or even crazy.
Reality: Seeking appropriate help is a sign of strength, not weakness. No one should delay getting treatment for a mental health problem that is not getting better, just as one would not wait to take care of a medical condition that needed treatment. The wisest, most courageous way to cope is to seek help, especially since early treatment can produce more positive results.

MYTH: Mental illness is a single, rare disorder.
Reality: Mental illness is not a single disease but a broad classification that contains many disorders. Anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, personality disorders, eating disorders and attention deficit disorders are life altering for millions of Canadians.

MYTH: People with mental illness never get better.
Reality: With the right kind of help, people with mental illnesses often recover and go on to lead healthy, productive lives. While the illness may not go away, the symptoms associated with it can be controlled.

MYTH: People with mental illness are poor and/or less intelligent.
Reality: Many studies show that most people with a mental illness have average or above-average intelligence. Mental illness, like physical illness, can affect anyone regardless of intelligence, social class or income level.