What is Mental Health?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. Mental health also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected.
Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:
- Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
- Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
- Family history of mental health problems
Mental health problems are common but help is available. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.
- Suicide accounts for the loss of more than 38,000 American lives each year, more than double the number of lives lost to homicide. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, 3rd leading cause if death for people aged 10-24 and 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 15-24.
- Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14 years old, and three quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24.
- Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US - affecting 18.1% of the population every year.
- Unfortunately, less than 20% of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need.
- 1 in 5 adults experiences a mental health condition every year.
- 1 in 20 lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
- 1 in 25 adults in the experiences a serious mental illness that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
In addition to the person directly experiencing a mental illness, family, friends and communities are also affected. Early engagement and support are crucial to improving outcomes and increasing the promise of recovery. To get more information about mental illness visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness at www.nami.org