Many people who have a mental illness do not want to talk about it. But mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of! It is a mental condition, just like heart disease or diabetes.
A mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, or mood. Such conditions may affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day. Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis. They may be occasional or long-lasting (chronic).
There are many different types of mental disorders. Some common ones include
Anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post- traumatic stress disorder, and phobias
Depression, bipolar disorder, and other mood disorders
Eating disorders
Personality disorders
Psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia
A mental health condition isn’t the result of one event. Genetics, environment and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events like being the victim of a crime.
Approximately, one in 5 adults experiences a mental health condition every year. One in 17 lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In addition to a person’s directly experiencing a mental illness, family, friends and communities are also affected.
Half of mental health conditions begin by age14, and 75% of mental health conditions develop by age 24. Mental illness does not discriminate; it can affect anyone regardless of age. The normal personality and behavior changes of adolescence may mimic or mask symptoms of a mental health condition. Early engagement and support are crucial to improving outcomes and increasing the promise of recovery.
There is no single cause for mental illness. A number of factors can contribute to risk for mental illness, such as
Genes and family history
One’s life experiences, such as stress or a history of abuse, especially if they happen in childhood
Biological factors such as chemical imbalances in the brain
A traumatic brain injury
A mother’s exposure to viruses or toxic chemicals while pregnant
Use of drinks or recreational substances
Having a serious medical condition like cancer
Having few friends, and feeling lonely or isolated
Sometimes, many mistakenly believe that mental disorders are caused by character flaws. As a matter of fact, they have nothing to do with being lazy or weak.
However, the good news is that mental illness is treatable. The vast majority of individuals with mental illness continue to function in their daily lives. Treatment depends on which mental disorder the victim has and how serious it is.

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