What is Mental illness ?

Mental illness is a term used to describe any disorder that affects your mood, thinking and behavior. Mental illnesses are the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting more than 450 million people or about 9.2% of all adults aged 18 and older in 2012. In 2013, an estimated 26.2 million children under age 18 had mental health disorders in the United States alone and nearly two thirds of these children went untreated. Mental illness can be caused by many things such as: emotional trauma (including sexual abuse), genetics, brain injury or other physical problems with the brain (such as Alzheimer’s disease). Some may have no known cause at all but we do know it is not anyone’s fault and recovery is possible for those diagnosed with a mental illness.

Mental illness can be described as a condition which causes serious hinderance to one’s ability to cope and function normally in society, and is commonly accompanied by an inability to cope with daily life or stress combined with abnormal behavior. There are many different types of mental illness such as: depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders etc. Many people believe that those who suffer from mental illnesses cannot think properly & those unable to think clearly should not accept responsibility for their actions. This common belief creates a stigma around those suffering from mental illness and complicates the problem because people do not recognize it as a potentially dangerous disease rather than a defect of character or will power. People also believe the only way someone can heal from this disease is by having a doctor prescribe medication. This common belief can be dangerous as those who do not need medication will take it and those who do may go untreated due to the high cost of prescriptions.

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To this day there are many stigmas surrounding mental illnesses and most of them come from ignorance about what it actually entails, so I’m going to talk about these diseases and break down some of these misconceptions.

“Mental Illness is Only Caused by Different Things than Physical Ailments”

Not true at all, even if it’s harder to diagnose or control sometimes when someone has a mental illness they need help just like anyone else.

“People with mental illness are dangerous or unpredictable”

Most people who suffer from a mental illness are no more dangerous than anyone else, it’s easy to make this mistake but the only difference is they don’t have full control over their actions therefore can’t always help themselves. Lastly, not everyone suffering from a mental health issues will become violent which is why it’s important for society to cut back on the stigmas surrounding them because some of these diseases are invisible and misunderstood by others.

“People just need to suck it up and move on”

Society needs to understand that denying someone treatment for an illness that can be treated just like any other is wrong, just because you cannot see the disease doesn’t mean it isn’t real therefore everyone has the right to receive treatment.

“Mental Illness is a choice”

Not true at all, it’s a disease that cannot be prevented or cured and should be treated as any other illness which requires medication, this does not mean these people are weak but it simply means they need help just like anyone else. When in contact with someone struggling with mental health issues always trust your instincts and do not be afraid to show concern or ask questions, most importantly pay attention to what you feel because ignoring symptoms can lead towards an even worse outcome for both the sufferer and their family. Lastly it’s impossible to predict if someone receiving treatment for mental illnesses will have a good or bad outcome in their life because no one can tell how someone else’s brain works, this is why it’s so important for society to cut back on the stigmas surrounding mental illnesses. If you or someone you know needs help with mental health issues please look into these resources: Mental Health America and National Alliance of Mental Illness .

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“Mental illness is a death sentence and people with mental illness should be feared and ignored”

Not true at all; most people who suffer from such diseases can lead happy and productive lives as long as they receive treatment, most importantly if you are struggling with such an illness remember there is no shame in asking for help because it will make your life much more manageable. To this day there are many stigmas surrounding mental illnesses but hopefully we will start seeing mental health issues in a more positive light and understand that denying people treatment is the worst thing you can do, once we all start seeing mental health issues as just an illness similar to any other we will see a tremendous improvement for not only those who suffer from such diseases but everyone around them.