May is recognized to be the month of mental health awareness. This originated in the U.S during the 1940s, and slowly started to catch wind around the world. But society hasn’t been quite open about mental health, and it is still seen as a taboo topic to talk about in many cultures. It’s only been in the last 20 years that people have been more open about mental health and have tried to destigmatize it. So readers, let’s do some myth busting about mental health and mental illness.
Mental health doesn’t mean mental illness. Mental illness is a part of the realm of mental health, but that doesn’t mean it defines mental health. Mental health includes many things from self-care to mental illness but doesn’t mean it revolves around them. Perhaps people don’t speak about mental health a lot because it seems the first thing that comes to mind is mental illness.
Speaking of mental illness, mental illness is, in fact, a real illness that affects us all. It is estimated that one in five Canadians will have or experience mental illness in any given year. Some might be more debilitating than others, but it’s important to know that mental illness is real and might not be noticeable.
Just like physical illnesses/ailments, mental illnesses can be treated as well. Mental illnesses are often dismissed because of the simple fact that “it’s all in your head” and that they aren’t noticeable. This assumption is incorrect, and mental health problems are invisible illnesses that should be taken just as serious as a broken arm or leg.