The words Mental health still evoke strong feelings of stigma in our society, even today. While there has been progress made in treating mental health diagnoses, we still have a long way to go. Services for those living with mental illness are scarce, under-staffed, and poorly funded. These facts would appear counter-intuitive since, “half of mental health conditions begin by age 14, and 75% of mental health conditions develop by age 24” (NAMI, 2015).
Mental illness is not typically the end result of one specific issue or experience in time. It is usually cumulative, can have hereditary influences, and an individual’s environment and life choices can create the perfect storm for mental illness. Life’s stressors such as career issues, challenges in the family, and traumatizing life events can predispose an individual to a mental illness.
The prevalence of mental illness is staggering. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “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” (2015). As a result of mental illness, friends, families, and even communities are impacted.
Some of the disorders that fall under the category of mental illness include:
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Autism Spectrum Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder
Early Psychosis and Psychosis
Eating Disorders (Bulimia, Anorexia)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Stabilization and recovery are possible in mental illness but identification of the illness, early referral to support programs, and family support can improve outcomes and decrease recidivism.
Resources: www.nami.org, www.samhsa.gov, https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dcbcs/bbh/centers.htm
Mental health conditions. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2017, from www.nami.org