Busting Mental Health Myths

There are many mental health myths and misconceptions that keep people from accessing the care they need. ERC wants to help change that. So, here are five common mental health myths busted.

Myth One: Most people don’t struggle with mental health issues.

Many assume that mental health issues only impact a small number of people. The reality is that everyone experiences issues that affect their mental health at some point in their life. Workplace and household stress, relationship challenges, grief from loss, life transitions, and parenting concerns are common and impact mental health. Seventy-six percent of U.S. employees report struggling with at least one issue that affected their mental health.1

Sometimes, these issues are related to diagnosable mental health disorders, such as clinical depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. To be diagnosed with a mental health disorder, there are certain criteria or symptoms that must be met. About one in five U.S. adults experience a mental illness.2 You can also have symptoms of a disorder without meeting all the criteria and being formally diagnosed.

Myth Two: Counseling is for people with serious mental health issues.

You don’t need to be in crisis to benefit from talking with a therapist, and counseling isn’t just a last resort option. On the contrary, you can get back on track sooner by reaching out before an issue is out of control. You don’t need to have a diagnosable mental health disorder to participate in counseling either; counseling can be used to address any issues that impact emotional wellness, to develop personal skills, to improve emotional well-being, to find greater purpose in life, and to build resiliency.

Myth Three: Counseling is not really confidential.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. Counselors and mental health professionals are required to comply with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, also known as HIPAA. These requirements also apply to counseling services through Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).

Myth Four: Counseling is just talking about problems.

It’s true that you will talk about your concerns in counseling, but you will also work on improving issues. A skilled counselor helps you work toward achievement of your mental health goals. As an outside party, counselors provide a more impartial view and perspectives that you may not see. With advanced degrees and continuing education, counselors are uniquely trained to help people address their mental health issues.

Myth Five: Counselors will judge my concerns or try to tell me what to do.

Many counselors, especially those who’ve practiced for a while, will tell you that there isn’t too much they haven’t heard. They are used to being there for people during tough, embarrassing, uncomfortable, or emotional moments in life. They know that it’s part of being human. A counselor’s role is not to judge you, tell you what to do with your life, or solve your problems for you.


(1) American Heart Association CEO Roundtable. (n.d.). Mental health: A workforce crisis. Retried from https://ceoroundtable.heart.org/mentalhealth/ (2) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020, September). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 national survey on drug use and health. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2019-nsduh-annual-national-report

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