Friday, May 27, 2022

Mental Health Myths

An introduction to several misnomers regarding mental health.

Editor’s note: May is Mental Health Awareness month, and so we here at The King’s Collective have teamed with The King’s University’s Marriage and Family Therapy department to bring you some great articles about issues related to mental health.

In lieu of Mental Health Awareness Month, it is important to know some of the mental health myths that we can easily believe and act upon. If we have a clearer understanding of mental health, we can efficiently help ourselves and those around us. You will see a few myths below as we continue the conversation of Mental Health.  

Myth: Counseling is just for people with really severe “issues.”

The fact is, counseling can benefit anyone. Situations impact each individual differently, but counseling is always a beneficial resource when working through a difficult experience. For example, whether someone experienced a childhood of repetitive abuse or merely one isolated event of an unmet need, the brain can similarly store the memory of the event and cause the person to become developmentally “stuck” within this memory. Everyone experiences difficulties and some situations may or may not need to be processed within a therapeutic setting. 

Myth: Only certain people are “susceptible” to mental health challenges. 

The fact is, everyone is susceptible to challenges in mental health. Everyone has the potential to experience unresolved trauma whether it is an experience that takes a lot of work to heal or whether it is an experience that does not seem to be impactful. It could unfortunately leave a negative impact. Anything that remains unprocessed will have an impact on the individual’s life. Unprocessed emotions can have the potential to lead to difficulties in mental health. 

Myth: Talk therapy is as effective as other types of therapies. 

The fact is, while several types of therapies exist, talk therapy is known to lead to neurological changes in the brain. Talk therapy can recircuit the brain to allow a calming effect for the central nervous system. For example, it is common for those that struggle with symptoms of anxiety and depression to experience feelings of relief following a talk therapy session. We cannot deny the power of a safe, listening ear. 

Myth: If a child or teen has endured trauma, they will have high risk behaviors and have a more difficult time functioning in society. 

The fact is, while children are more resilient than what most realize, we are all wired for connection and attachment. Research has shown that if a child feels safely connected with one adult in their life, they will display drastically increased resilience and they are more likely to healthily function in society. 

Myth: If I ask someone if they are suicidal, it will encourage them to think about acting on it. 

The fact is, people who are dealing with suicidal ideation are already thinking about suicide before anyone asks. You are not presenting a foreign idea by asking further questions related to this topic. Instead, you may save their life by being willing to ask direct questions regarding suicide. The best way to know if someone is feeling suicidal is by asking them directly. If you have any doubt, ask. This is a topic that needs assertiveness and clear communication. 

These are not all of the myths that exist but hopefully give you insight into various aspects of mental health and the misnomers surrounding it. What mental health myths have you heard?

This article was written by TKU Master of Marriage and Family student Morgan and Dr. Cassie Reid.

Dr. Cassie Reid
Dr. Cassie Reidhttp://www.tku.edu
Dr. Cassie Reid is associate professor of counseling and director of the Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program at The King's University in Southlake, Texas.