About Mental Illness
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.
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.
A mental health condition isn’t the result of one event. Research suggests multiple, linking causes. Genetics, environment and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events like being the victim of a crime. Biochemical processes and circuits and basic brain structure may play a role, too.
One in 5 adults experiences a mental health condition every year. One in 17 lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. In addition to a person’s directly experiencing a mental illness, family, friends and communities are also affected.
Half of mental health conditions begin by age 14, and 75% of mental health conditions develop by age 24. The normal personality and behavior changes of adolescence may mimic or mask symptoms of a mental health condition. Early engagement and support are crucial to improving outcomes and increasing the promise of recovery.
Learn more about treatment and services that assist individuals in recovery.
Learn that you are not alone with personal stories here.
Find out more about a specific mental illness:
- Anxiety Disorders
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
- Bipolar Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Dissociative Disorders
- Dual Diagnosis: Substance Abuse and Mental Illness
- Eating Disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Panic Disorder
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
- Schizoaffective Disorder
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
Find out more about conditions sometimes related to mental illness:
- Anosognosia (lack of insight)
- First Episodes of Psychosis
- Sleep Apnea
- Tardive Dyskinesia
Treatment & Services
- Crisis Services
- Complementary Health Approaches
- ECT and Other Brain Stimulation Therapies
- Medications Overview
- Mental Health Professionals
- Psychosocial Treatments
- Treatment Settings
- Fact sheets from the AKA-NAMI partnership (focus on African Americans)
- Finding a Culturally Competent Provider
- What is Early and First-Episode Psychosis?
- Early Psychosis: What’s Going On and What Can You Do?