6 Myths About Mental Health That Hold Us Back
Despite our best efforts and shifts in cultural conversation, caring for our mental and emotional health often still carries some stigma. So in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re shining a light on six myths many of us believe about our mental health.
6 Myths About Mental Health
Myth #1: I only need to pay attention to my mental health if/when I’m in crisis.
Truth: Mental health is health and needs to be a part of my everyday life—the good, the hard, and all the in-betweens.
Many of us don’t gain awareness of our mental health until faced with something particularly challenging or painful. We often don’t stop long enough to pay attention to our mental health until our lives become entirely off-balanced or capsized.
At Onsite, we believe that caring for our mental health should be approached like any other element of our health—as a daily practice. Just like we care for our physical health daily by brushing our teeth, moving our bodies, and eating three meals a day, we can also care for our mental health by incorporating rhythms and routines.
When you think of mental health, you may think of anxiety, depression, or burnout. But the World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as a “state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” At Onsite, we believe in a wellness model, not just a sickness model. That means we’re dedicated to helping you strengthen your mental and emotional well-being so that you can remain resilient in life’s ups and downs. In the long run, the best way to enhance our health is through proactive practices rather than reactive interventions.
Myth #2: Going to therapy makes me weak.
Truth: Going to therapy is a sign of strength.
Therapy is often perceived as a last resort, something someone else needs, or someplace you go when things are “really bad.” Yet when we view it as a last-ditch effort to “fix something,” we mistakenly (and maybe even subconsciously) believe that asking for help makes us weak. That seeking support means we’ve “failed” to be able to “handle it” on our own.
However, after helping tens of thousands of people through the therapeutic process, we can confidently say that therapy is not the easy way out. Instead, on a surface level, the easier (often more detrimental) route is to continue ignoring what’s happening in our lives. To stuff, medicate, and numb our feelings until they come out sideways and in destructive patterns that hurt us and anyone in our path.
Raising your hand when you’re struggling is an act of courage, bravery, and strength. Period. Every time. It’s also incredibly strong to seek support before your world falls apart. Therapy and other mental health work is not always easy, but it is always worth it.
Myth #3: Taking time for myself is selfish.
Truth: Taking time for myself is one of the best things I can do for those I love.
When we’re honest, this one is hard—even for those of us who have been on this journey for a long time! It can feel like everywhere we look, someone needs something from us. But the truth is, you cannot pour into others from an empty tank. At Onsite, we often say you can only give people what you yourself already have. You can’t bring peace, care, and understanding to others if you don’t first extend those things to yourself.
We show up better in every area of our lives—including for the people that matter most to us—when we show up for ourselves. It’s not always easy to find the time to take care of ourselves—to say no, to put our needs first—but you’ll see the impact tenfold. Taking care of ourselves and our own needs is often the most selfless thing we can do.
Related: The Misconception of Self-Care
Myth #4: I can’t afford to take care of my mental health.
Truth: Caring for my mental health doesn’t always have to be expensive.
Taking care of our mental and emotional health comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms. We acknowledge that financial resources are incredibly helpful in caring for our mental health, but we also believe there are things we can do that cost little to no money.
Breathing exercises, meditation, journaling, community, and movement are effective (and FREE) mental and emotional health resources. In addition, thanks to the internet, there are so many excellent online resources and databases to help you find local in-person support at little to no cost. If you’re looking for support near you, we encourage you to check out this online database from To Write Love On Her Arms.
If therapy or other mental health services aren’t in financial reach for you right now, we encourage you to take an inventory of what resources you do have. Are there relationships you can intentionally seek out? Are there boundaries with technology you can set? Are there small shifts in your every day that could impact your well-being?
Relate: If you’re looking for an easy tool to get you started, check out this free class, How to Hack Your Emotional Health. This free class will teach you how to form sustainable habits that lead to lasting transformation.
Myth #5: I’m the only one struggling.
Truth: I am not alone.
Struggling with our mental health can feel like an isolating experience—one that causes us to retreat inward, only further leading to feelings of loneliness and disconnection. When we’re struggling, we can begin to tell ourselves that we’re the only ones navigating the pain, confusion, anxiety, shame, and depression that we’re experiencing.
Research shows that 9 in 10 people believe the U.S. is experiencing a mental health crisis. Yet most of us try to navigate that crisis alone. The truth is, you are not alone—despite how lonely it can feel. As scary as it can be, we encourage you to reach out for support.
One of the most impactful pieces of any Onsite group experience is that it serves as an incredible antidote to the belief that we’re alone in our struggle. Instead of carrying it alone, our group experiences create a space to share our struggles in a safe environment with the guidance of a trained professional.
Myth #6: Mental health is private
Truth: Allowing safe people into our journey brings healing and connection.
So many of us imagine the therapeutic experience behind closed doors. And while there is sometimes a need and space for privacy and sensitivity, when we only think of it this way, we subconsciously begin to believe that our mental health is something to keep hidden and separate from the people in our lives.
There’s a difference between personal and private. Our mental health journey is deeply personal, but it does not have to remain private. When we courageously choose to allow safe, trusted people into the journey with us we can find hope, healing, and connection. What we can’t do alone, we can do together.
At Onsite, you’ll often hear us say because we’re wounded in community, we must heal in community. The truth is, our most profound healing comes in relationship with others.
If you aren’t quite ready to experience one of our in-person workshops, yet you’re looking to engage in mental health work in the context of community, we invite you to check out our digital classes or courses. In addition to a world-renowned digital learning experience, when you sign up, you also gain access to our interactive digital community full of like-minded people pursuing mental and emotional health!
There are many myths we believe about our mental health—but that’s just what they are: myths. It’s time to stop getting in our own way and start speaking truth to the lies we’ve been carrying around for far too long. They are not serving you anymore, and you deserve more. Mental health is health, and you deserve to live a full, healthy life.
Our team wants to support you on your journey. Give us a call at 800-341-7432 to begin the process today!