Mental illness is a term that is used frequently in our society. But many of us who use it loosely are unaware of what it really means. Sometimes we can use it in a way that stigmatizes those seeking help. To instead help those suffering from a mental illness and seeking help, it might help us all to better understand the term.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), “a mental illness is a condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling or 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 to cope with the ordinary demands of life. We may all encounter mental health issues where we need help; we all get the blues, we all grieve loss. But sometimes, maybe because of genetics, lifestyle, a stressful job or home life, a traumatic life event, or a combination of these things, minor conditions, if left untreated, can become serious.
Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, autism, eating disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness, like about diabetes, is that it can be treated and recovery is possible.
Some statistics may help us see how susceptible we all are:
- One in every five adults will experience a mental condition every year
- One in every twenty adults lives with a serious mental condition
- By age 14, 50% of mental health problems begin to develop
- By age 24, 75% of mental health problems begin to develop
It’s important to know that mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income. They are not a result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing, any more than diabetes is. The important thing is to get help – and to encourage those we know who may be suffering to get help. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of. Mental illnesses are treatable and most people diagnosed with even serious mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in treatment.
At Family Service Foundation, we are dedicated to helping those struggling with mental illness to overcome the obstacles they face and function successfully in their everyday lives.
Family Service Foundation, Inc. has been serving the greater Maryland area since 1936. This nonprofit organization helps Maryland residents across a span of different areas such as mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse, and provides interpretation for deaf and deaf-blind individuals. To find out about services, visit here. Do you “Follow” and “Like?” Be sure to stay active on our official pages for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest today!