If you start down the rabbit hole that is looking up mental health terms on Google, you’ll realize that there’s a lot of competing and confusing information. If everyone thinks I’m happy, am I not depressed? Do teens only die by suicide because of bullying? If you have some questions that feel unanswered, keep reading. We’re here to debunk some common mental health myths that really need to disappear.
1. If no one notices you’re depressed, you must be fine: FALSE.
Some people are just able to mask it better than others. If you’re continuing to earn A’s, maintaining a social presence, and acting like things are great, that doesn’t mean you’re not depressed. It’s how you feel on the inside that matters most.
2. Dumping a depressed friend is okay: True—and False.
You have to take care of yourself, so if a friendship is affecting your own mental health, then you may need to back off. But that doesn’t mean you completely walk away—you could take a temporary step back to reset your own mood. With that said, a part of friendship is being there while someone is going through tough times. Just don’t bear the responsibility alone—even a therapist would seek the advice of others.
3. Bullying is the main reason why teens die by suicide: false.
It’s almost never the case that a suicide is the result of a single thing—and most people who are bullied don’t kill themselves. It may just be that severe bullying was the last in a series of bad things that led to someone thinking about suicide. Still, there is no question that being targeted can take a toll on your mental health, so don’t suffer alone. Find someone you can talk to. (And if you see someone being bullied, speak up!)
4. Depression and suicide are contagious: true—sort of.
Experts agree that feelings are, to some extent, contagious. So if you spend time with someone who is depressed, it can make you feel down. But you aren’t going to “catch” clinical depression like you would a cold. However, if someone dies of suicide, there’s a slight chance it could trigger other at-risk people to follow suit.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or visit their website.
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