Mind & Mood

Blasting through mental health misperceptions

Fight back against pervasive stereotypes with these liberating strategies.

By , Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch
  • Reviewed by Toni Golen, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing; Contributor

illustration showing silhouettes of two heads facing in opposite directions, filled with words associated with mental health

For all its downsides, the pandemic helped us to do a better job of openly discussing mental health. But that doesn't mean everyone is up to speed on how strikingly common mental illness is β€” or immune to stubborn stereotypes that label people struggling with mental health challenges as somehow defective.

An estimated 58 million American adults β€” more than one in five β€” live with a mental illness such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, among others. And more women than men receive treatment such as medication or counseling for such an issue, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

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About the Author

photo of Maureen Salamon

Maureen Salamon, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

Maureen Salamon is executive editor of Harvard Women’s Health Watch. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later covered health and medicine for a wide variety of websites, magazines, and hospitals. Her work has … See Full Bio
View all posts by Maureen Salamon

About the Reviewer

photo of Toni Golen, MD

Toni Golen, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Women's Health Watch; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing; Contributor

Dr. Toni Golen is a physician specializing in obstetrics and gynecology, practicing in Boston. Dr. Golen completed her residency training at George Washington University Medical Center in 1995, and is an associate professor at Harvard Medical … See Full Bio
View all posts by Toni Golen, MD

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No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

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