We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. Mental health is more than the absence of mental illness. It’s a state of well-being.
A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.
Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. Many people suffer from a phobia, a type of anxiety disorder. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.
A person struggling with his or her behavioral health may face stress, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, grief, addiction, ADHD or learning disabilities, mood disorders, or other psychological concerns. Counselors, therapists, life coaches, psychologists, nurse practitioners or physicians can help manage behavioral health concerns with treatments such as therapy, counseling, or medication.
According to the World Health Organization depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for individuals ages 15 to 44. Absence from work in the U.S. due to depression is estimated to be in excess of $31 billion per year. Depression frequently co-occurs with a variety of medical illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and chronic pain and is associated with poorer health status and prognosis.
As people become familiar with their illness, they recognize their own unique patterns of behavior. If individuals recognize these signs and seek effective and timely care, they can often prevent relapses. However, because mental illnesses have no cure, treatment must be continuous.
Individuals who live with a mental illness also benefit tremendously from taking responsibility for their own recovery. The recovery journey is unique for each individual. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), recovery is a process not an event.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
- Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA)
- Wikipedia : Mental Health
- World Health Organization (WHO) : Mental Health