Mental Health Center

Mental Health Basics

There is a difference between having common mental health concerns and suffering from mental illness. Most everyone, at sometime during their lifetime, has a mental health concern, such as anxiety about an upcoming event, job responsibilities or otherwise. When everyday life and functioning is affected, it becomes a mental illness.

What Is Mental Illness?

A mental health concern evolves into mental illness when a patient suffers from frequent stress and frustration, which affects their ability to function. The inability to carry on day-to-day activities in work, at home and among friends makes life unbearable, difficult and absolutely miserable. Feelings, moods, emotions and interpersonal relationships are adversely affected. It is difficult to cope with everyday life.

Mental illness is treatable with medication, psychotherapy, support groups or a combination of treatments. The selected treatment depends upon the diagnosed condition, which vary from schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder to severe depression. There are many different mental illnesses, and patients are frequently diagnosed with a combination or disorders.

Who Does It Affect?

  • Mental illness can affect anyone at anytime but statistics show that one-half of all cases present before 14 years old and three-quarters of cases are diagnosed by 24 years old.
  • Annually, one in four adults or almost 58 million Americans experiences some type of mental illness; one in 17 people suffer from a serious mental health issue like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
  • World Health Report states that mental illness is the leading cause of disability in the North America for people between 15 and 44 years of age.
  • Mental health and an addiction disorder often occur simultaneously. There are 5.2 million Americans who suffer from both afflictions. Thirty-one percent of the homeless population admits to having both issues.
  • One caveat to the question, who does it affect, is that not only is it the patient but also family members and loved ones close to them.

The Concerns

Unfortunately, less than one-third of adults and one-half of children with treatable mental illness seek medical attention each year. There are often many years between the first signs of mental illness and the time a patient seeks medical treatment; early detection and intervention reap the best treatment results. During this period, productivity is often low and other serious physical medical conditions can evolve. Reports show that in the U.S., the loss of productivity due to mental illness is in the vicinity of $63 million each year.

A startling statistic is that suicide is a leading cause of death in the U.S. At least 90 percent of people who commit suicide have a treatable mental illness. Thus, it is imperative that if you or someone you know suffers from mental illness, treatment is sought immediately.


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