As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I’ll be the first to tell you that there’s often a lot of confusion around mental illness. In fact, many people struggle to understand what mental illness is and what it isn’t which can lead to a stigma surrounding mental health as a whole. More than half of people with mental illness don’t receive help for their disorders which is a troubling statistic. Particularly when we realize that some people living with mental illness may not ask for help because they fear what could happen once they do. They might question whether their family will judge them, whether they will be able to keep their job, or whether their friends and colleagues will worry that they are dangerous.
The stigma around mental illness is real and it generally stems from a lack of understanding and the fact that there are so many myths surrounding the topic. Over the years, quite a bit has changed about the way we approach mental wellness but some people (and entire communities) still struggle with what mental illness means and whether it should be addressed or ignored altogether.