Common myths surrounding mental health

Mental Health Myths

Mental health is a topic of growing importance in today’s society. Despite increased awareness, there are still numerous misconceptions and myths surrounding mental health that persist. These misconceptions can contribute to stigma, hinder individuals from seeking help, and perpetuate harmful stereotypes. In this blog post, we will debunk some of the common myths surrounding mental health, shedding light on the reality. Hopefully this inspires open conversations and help seeking.

Myth: Mental health problems are uncommon. 

Contrary to popular belief, mental health problems are incredibly common. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “In 2019, 1 in every 8 people, or 970 million people around the world, were living with a mental disorder, with anxiety and depressive disorders the most common.” (World Health Organization, 2022). Mental health conditions can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background.

Myth: Mental health problems are a sign of weakness.

Mental health problems are not a reflection of personal weakness or character flaws. They are medical conditions that arise from a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and social factors (National Institute of Mental Health, n.d.). Just like physical health issues, mental health problems require professional help and support. A number of historical figures that have made major contributions to humankind had mental health issues. For example, Charles Dawrin (Science,1997) and Virgina Woolf (Dalsimer, 2004).

Myth: Seeking help is unnecessary; individuals should be able to handle their problems on their own.

Seeking help is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength. Just as we seek medical assistance for physical ailments, reaching out for mental health support is essential. Mental health professionals are trained to provide evidence-based treatments and therapies that can effectively address mental health challenges (American Psychological Association, n.d.).

Myth: Mental health problems are permanent and cannot be treated. 

Mental health problems are treatable, and recovery is possible. With the right interventions, support, and treatment plans, individuals can manage and overcome their mental health conditions (National Alliance on Mental Illness, n.d. & Australian Psychological Society, n.d.). Early intervention and ongoing care play crucial roles in improving mental well-being.

Myth: People with mental health problems are violent and dangerous. 

This myth perpetuates harmful stereotypes and fuels stigma. The vast majority of individuals living with mental health issues are not violent.  Heather Stuart, (2003) reported that the major determinants of violence continued to be socio-demographic and socio-economic factors such as being young, male, and of lower socio-economic status, not mental health problems. She stated that those with mental health problems are more likely to be victims of violence rather than perpetrators.

Myth: Mental health problems are caused by bad parenting.

This myth blames parents and probably doesn’t help someone see what they might be able to do towards improving their mental health. It is widely accepted that there is no single cause for mental health issues. Most authorities agree that interactions between the mind, body and environment contribute to developing a condition. (Government of Western Australia Mental Health Commission; Mind , 2017; Health Direct, 2023). The exception to this is if parenting involved abuse or neglect then this can contribute to mental health problems.


Myths surrounding mental health  maintain stereotypes, and discrimination. By examining these ideas we can foster a more supportive and inclusive society. It is crucial to educate ourselves and others, challenge stereotypes, and encourage open discussions about mental health. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and there are resources available to support you or your loved ones on the journey to mental well-being.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health concerns, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. The Centre for Clinical Psychology in Melbourne offers a range of evidence-based treatments and compassionate support. Book an appointment today by calling 03 9077 0122 or visiting our website at


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Stuart, H. (2003). Violence and mental illness: An overview. World Psychiatry, 2(2), 121–124.

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