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Mental Health

A mental illness is a physical illness, just like any other, that affects the brain. These disorders can profoundly disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, moods, ability to relate to others and capacity for coping with the demands of everyday life. Mental illness can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing.
Mental illnesses include such disorders as schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic and other severe anxiety disorders, autism and pervasive developmental disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, borderline personality disorder, and other severe and persistent mental illnesses that affect the brain.

Brain scans can show structural and functional differences in brains that are affected by mental illness. Mental illness is real. It is not imagined and cannot be "willed" away.

Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people with serious mental illness need medication to help control symptoms, but also rely on supportive counseling, self-help groups, assistance with housing, vocational rehabilitation, income assistance and other community services in order to achieve their highest level of recovery.



Important facts to know about mental illness & recovery:

  • Mental illnesses are biologically based brain disorders. They are not a reflection of a person's character or intelligence and cannot be overcome through willpower
  • Mental disorders fall along a continuum of severity. The most severe and disabling conditions affect five to ten million adults (2.6 – 5.4%) and three to five million children ages five to seventeen (5 – 9%) in the United States
  • Mental disorders are the leading cause of disability (lost years of productive life) in North America, Europe and, increasingly, in the world. By 2020, major depressive illness will be the leading cause of disability in the world for women and children
  • Mental illnesses strike individuals in the prime of their lives, often during adolescence and young adulthood. All ages are susceptible, but the young and the old are especially vulnerable
  • Without treatment the consequences of mental illness for the individual and society are staggering: unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, suicide and wasted lives; The economic cost of untreated mental illness is more than $100 billion each year in the United States
  • The best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective; between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments and supports
  • Early identification and treatment is of vital importance; By getting people the treatment they need early, recovery is accelerated and the brain is protected from further harm related to the course of illness
  If you or someone you know has a mental illness, you can find local treatment support here. Treatment and support services are available right here in our local communities to provide you with the help you need and deserve. You do not have to face this alone. There is hope - recovery is possible with proper treatment and care