Busting Myths Around Mental Illness

Misconceptions around mental illness can fuel stigma and prevent people from sharing their experiences. Inkblot debunks common myths to help build acceptance.

With Mental Illness Awareness Week (Oct. 3rd-Oct 9th) and World Mental Health Day (October 10th) both occurring in the first half of the month, October presents an excellent opportunity to build awareness around mental illness and mental health issues at your organization. 

Mental illness and mental health issues are extremely common. According to the Centre for Disease Control, more than 50% of people will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder in their lifetime and 1 in 5 people will experience a mental health issue or illness in any given year. 

Despite these numbers, many people still feel ashamed about coming forward with their diagnoses and experiences. According to a recent study cited in Harvard Business Review, 60% of people have never spoken to anyone at work about their mental health status, while 51%  report feeling uncomfortable bringing up mental health issues with their managers in a survey conducted by Maestro Health.

In order to help build more awareness and encourage cultures of openness and psychological safety at work, we’re debunking some common myths and misconceptions around mental illness and mental health issues that might prevent people from coming forward about their experiences. 

1. Mental illness and mental health issues will never impact me.

Mental illness and mental health issues are incredibly common. Nearly 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness each year and 1 in 6 youth between 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year. Over 970 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with a mental health issue or substance abuse disorder. Translation? Whether personally by association, mental illness impacts nearly everyone. You are not alone. 

2. Having a mental illness is a sign of weakness. 

Having a mental illness is not a character flaw – it’s a real illness caused by many factors including genetics and environmental triggers. Mental illnesses can impact our quality of life, our task performance and our physical health. It’s a real health issue that – like many physical issues – can be treated and managed over time. 

3. People experiencing mental illness or mental health issues can’t work. 

While mental illness is the leading cause of disability in Canada and the US (and during periods of unwellness can impact our ability to perform our jobs), it doesn’t have to. Many people with mental illnesses are still high-functioning at work, even over-performing at times. With appropriate workplace accommodations, however, people with mental health issues can find the support they need and be successful at work. 

4. People with a mental illness can never recover.

A person with mental illness or facing a mental health issue can recover from periods of unwellness and lead a fulfilling, contributing life. In addition to feeling supported in the workplace, psychotherapy is a proven effective tool for improving symptoms of a wide array of mental illnesses. In addition, many studies show that virtual mental health care is as effective as in-person care for treating conditions like depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder and more

Whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness, mental health is a spectrum. We all experience periods of wellness and we can all experience periods of strain. If you’d like to learn more about how Inkblot therapists can support you in managing your mental health or the mental health of a loved one, visit inkblottherapy.com.