There’s still lots of stigma attached to depression. Society, culture, and religion are just some influencers that affect how we treat depression. Lindsay Holmes of the Huffington Post wrote a wonderful article about myths we still hold about mental illness.
Here are 6 myths about depression we still need to break.
Myth 1: Depression is contagious.
Depression is NOT contagious! You don’t catch it from a sneeze or by touching someone. Depression isn’t a germ or virus that you catch. Nor do you catch depression by being in the same room as the person. A 2014 paper published in the journal Memory & Cognition found that people still believe mental illness is communicable from one person to another.
While you can feel low down dealing with someone who is depressed, it’s more that you are affected by the emotions than actually catching some illness. Emotions are known to influence people. But acting like depression is contagious will lead to feelings of isolation for the depressed person.
Myth 2: Depression means violence.
Many people still blame mental illness for horrific tragedies. Just listen to news commentators each time there’s a tragedy. The first question they ask is, “Did the person suffer from mental illness or depression?” If the person was depressed, there’s no pity. The person is judged as crazy or psychotic. Even the words ‘crazy’ and ‘psychotic’ are incorrectly used by reporters either because they don’t know better or it makes a better headline grabber. The belief depression means violence perpetuates a stigma that’s not easy to shed.
But here’s the reality: A mental health disorder does not mean that someone is going to commit a violent act. In fact, a 2014 study found that people with mental health issues are more likely to be victims of violent crimes than the ones committing them.