There are far too many misconceptions about mental health. These misconceptions make it even harder for people to live with their depression and other mental disorders. Here are some of those common myths about depression, along with the facts.
1. DEPRESSED PEOPLE NEED TO JUST SNAP OUT OF IT
The truth is that people can’t just stop being depressed. It is an illness. Depression can’t be snapped out of and can only be treated with the help of a trained mental health professional. Being able to recognise the signs of depression in yourself and others can help to get help early on and prevent some of the more long term issues associated with this illness.
2. DEPRESSED PEOPLE ARE JUST GOING THROUGH A ROUGH PATCH
While it is true that going through something particularly rough, such as a breakup or watching your parents get divorced, can lead to depression it isn’t the only cause of the problem. Depression can also be caused by physical problems, feeling abandoned or isolated, and being verbally or physically abused. Sometimes depression doesn’t even have an obvious cause and sometimes it is even caused by chemical imbalances in a person’s brain.
3. DRINKING ALCOHOL HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DEPRESSION; IT’S JUST WHAT PEOPLE DO WHEN THEY GET OLDER
The truth is that drinking alcohol increases your chances of being depressed and, if you are depressed, drinking just makes it worse.
4. SMART PEOPLE AND EMOTIONALLY STRONG PEOPLE DON’T SUFFER FROM MENTAL ILLNESSES
The truth is that mental illnesses, including depression, can affect anyone at any time. It doesn’t matter if you are smart or are strong mentally, emotionally, or physically. It doesn’t matter how old you are and it doesn’t matter what gender you are. Mental illnesses can affect you.
It is true that some personal characteristics can help keep depression at bay. You reduce your chances of being depressed if you keep an optimistic outlook, are a good problem solver, have high self-esteem, have close personal relationships with people who can provide you support, and getting involved in your school or community. It’s important to remember that all of that won’t mean you never get depressed. It just means you are less likely to.