What is a mental illness?
Mental illnesses are treatable health conditions very common in the world today.
They can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, religion, or income. But people are still afraid to talk about them due to shame, misunderstanding, negative attitudes, and fear of discrimination.
A MENTAL ILLNESS IS
A medical condition disrupting a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning.
Common. One in four people will develop a mental illness in their lifetime.
Treatable. Most mental illnesses can be treated effectively with medication, therapy, diet, exercise, and support. Recovery is possible.
A MENTAL ILLNESS IS NOT
Imaginary. Mental illnesses are very real and very common.
Something to “get over.” Mental illnesses cannot be willed away.
A character flaw. Mental illnesses are medical conditions that do not define us.
AN ILLNESS CAN BE CAUSED BY
Trauma. Sometimes traumatic events can play a role in triggering a mental illness.
Chemical imbalance. Chemical or biochemical changes in the brain can be factors.
Genetics. Some mental illnesses get passed along from one generation to the next.
Environment. Exposure to toxins, illnesses, drugs, or alcohol can affect the developing brain in utero.
Each new mother is unique and it’s important to know that there is no one cause for postpartum depression. 1 in 7 mothers who give birth each year struggle with symptoms of depression.
Mental Health by the Numbers
1 These infographics cite statistics provided by the National Institute of Mental Health.
2 Statistics provided by Department of Justice.
3 American Journal of Psychiatry and U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, 1999.
4 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
For more information, go to www.nami.org.