Mental Illness

A mental illness is a condition that impacts a person’s thinking, feeling, or mood and may affect and his or her ability to relate to others and function on a daily basis. Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis.

One in five adults experiences a mental health condition every year.  One in 20 people lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In addition to the person directly experiencing by a mental illness, family, friends and communities are also affected.

Causes of Mental Illness

Mental illness isn’t the result of one event. Research suggests multiple, interlinking causes. Genetics, environment, and lifestyle combine to influence whether or not someone develops a mental illness. A stressful job or home life can make some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events like being the victim of a crime. Biochemical processes and circuits as well as basic brain structure may play a role, too. Fifty percent of mental health conditions begin by age 14, and seventy-five percent of mental health conditions develop by age 24. Sometimes the normal personality and behavior changes of adolescence may mimic or mask symptoms of a mental health condition, so early warning signs and symptoms can be difficult to recognize . Early engagement and support are crucial to improving outcomes and increasing the promise of recovery.

Is Recovery from Mental Illness Possible?

Recovery, including meaningful roles in social life, school and work, is possible, especially when you start treatment early and play a strong role in your own recovery process. Early intervention, consistent treatment and personal support are all important influences on a person’s recovery journey.  You can find information about specific conditions on this website on the drop down menu under Mental Illness.