Mental health is an important part of overall health and well-being. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood (CDC).
Everyone feels worried or anxious or down from time to time. But relatively few people develop a mental illness. What’s the difference? A mental illness is a mental health condition that gets in the way of thinking, relating to others, and day-to-day function.
Dozens of mental illnesses have been identified and defined. They include depression, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and many more.
Mental illness is an equal opportunity issue. It affects young and old, male and female, and individuals of
every race, ethnic background, education level, and income level. The good news is that it can often be
Signs and symptoms of mental illness depend in part on the illness. Common symptoms include
feeling down for a while
extreme swings in mood
withdrawing from family, friends, or activities
low energy or problems sleeping
often feeling angry, hostile, or violent
feeling paranoid, hearing voices, or hallucinating
often thinking about death or suicide.
In some people, symptoms of a mental illness first appear as physical problems such as stomach aches,
back pain, or insomnia.
Individuals with a mental illness can often ease their symptoms and feel better by talking with a
therapist and following a treatment plan that may or may not include medication