At Seed & Stone, we are committed to nurturing a positive mind set – doing what makes you feel good, engaging with your inner self and leading a healthy, balanced life. We aim to share the bliss of peaceful living with our prestigious readers and buds. Some of our roots came from the stigma attached to cannabis use which motivated us to embrace a positive cannabis culture with no judgement. In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians suffer from a mental illness or an addiction. Despite the fact that this is so common, the stigmas attached to it still outweigh the facts that need to be shared. A common relation to this is the stigma behind Cannabis use, and we want to bring light to these stigmas and break the myths attached to them. If you were looking to break some of the common myths attached to mental health, we put this piece together to give some insight on why we need to separate from these stigmas.
“Mental health disorders are not real”
Mental health has been labeled as one of the most common myths for years. Mental illnesses are as real as any other disease like cancer or diabetes. Just because they don’t present themselves in the most obvious manner like some of the other physical health diseases, doesn’t mean that they can be swept under the rug like nothing. According to an article by the World Health Organization, around 450 million people currently suffer from conditions related to mental illnesses that include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and ADHD. In some cases, these illnesses are a result of having experienced toxic environments or traumatizing events, or reasons abnormality in proper brain functioning, and even substance abuse. Did you know that “major depression affects approximately 5.4% of the Canadian population, and anxiety disorders affect 4.6% of the population?” and yet mental illness is a less considered topic in the society. The affects are grand, and it is a real issue that can affect anyone.
“Mental illness should be hidden from family, and society”
According to CAMH, “Just 50% of Canadians would tell friends or co-workers that they have a family member with a mental illness, compared to 72% who would discuss a diagnosis of cancer and 68% who would talk about a family member having diabetes". This information sheds light upon other stigmas that are related to people and their relationships with someone suffering from a mental illness. If you are someone who experiences hesitation when it comes to connecting with someone, or if you refrain from entering a relationship or commitment with a certain someone who is suffering from a mental illness, this might be for you. You can help them. You can express your concerns, ask questions when needed, listen to them and make them feel heard. You can support them, by just being there for them. Just being able to connect them to someone who can help them, in cases where you are unable to, can make a huge difference. If there are any behaviour traits that you seem to notice being stretched for an extended period such as stress, irritability, sadness, you can reach out and offer to have a healthy discussion about it. De-bunking these taboo topics doesn’t have a fixed formula, but you can lead to a happier routine with a sense of awareness if you implement these small changes in everyday life.
“Mentally ill people are dangerous/violent”
You may have heard this statement from either an acquaintance, or it could be a result of your own fears regarding mental illnesses and people suffering through them - that mentally ill people are a cause of concern in the society, and they can prove to be violent or harmful. Even though it is a common fear, it is still caused by a mere misconception, and it is not true. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of violence rather than being perpetrators themselves. They are more vulnerable and exposed to danger than any other general member of the society. If you know someone who you think is prone to lose their temper or be endangering in any other way to others, reach out and seek for help. Understand what triggers them and plan how to handle the repercussions for future situations. Also understand and respect their personal space, even though being there for them is essential, maintaining clarity about boundaries that you set in your relationship with them is even more essential.
“Mental illness is permanent”
If you are someone suffering from severe mental health and you’ve heard things such as being unable to recover from it, or there is no cure for how you’re feeling, that is simply untrue. Now the journey may play out differently than your fellow buds depending on what illness you may be experiencing, but there are innumerable sources that offer help, ranging from support groups to professional therapy sessions provided by doctors who are well educated and can efficiently use their knowledge in cases like yours. In some extreme cases, medications are also available that can be safely prescribed by a healthcare professional. Other than that, getting a healthy diet, staying physically active, maintaining a routine that keeps you occupied, and talking to people who bring out the best in you, always helps. The main point from these suggestions is that your mental health can be balanced by something as small as making minor lifestyle changes and noticing patterns that work for yourself, instead of focusing on what society believes to be true.
“Mental illnesses make you incompetent in the workplace”
Finally, another reason why people with a certain mental illness are hesitant to publicly voice that they are suffering from it, is to avoid the unrelated stigmas that come with it in the workplace. It affects how your professional side is perceived and you may believe that it causes employers to not trust your opinion along with colleagues to not believe in your true potential. The truth is, even if you are suffering from severe mental health, you are just as capable as any other person and you can still use the resources available to you to create something worthwhile. As for employers, focus on recognizing employees’ contributions and giving them credit where its due, provide them with manageable workload, promote work-life balance, and allow space for constant learning and growing together to uplift your employees who suffer.