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About Mental Illness

A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.

Mental illnesses 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 are treatable. Most people diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan.

Warning Signs

Trying to tell the difference between what expected behaviors are and what might be the signs of a mental health condition isn’t always easy, but identifying a problem early can help lead to the best outcome.

Mental Health Conditions

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.

Common With Mental Illness

Certain conditions are often related to other diseases and concerns. These conditions may be a cause or symptom of a mental illness or be a condition that can increase the likelihood of one developing.


Treatments for mental illness vary by diagnosis and by person. Getting a diagnosis is an important first step. Knowing your own preferences and goals is also important. There’s no “one size fits all” treatment.

Mental Health By The Numbers

Millions of people in the U.S. are affected by mental illness every year. Here are some facts about the prevalence and impact of mental illness.


Research is vital to advancing our understanding of mental health conditions.

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