Home > Mental health > Mental health in SA Updated 02 July 2013 Facts about mental illness October is Mental Health Awareness Month. We give you some interesting facts about mental illness and recovery. 0 Shutterstock Ask CyberShrink » Talk Heart to heart forum » 13 hidden signs of stress Regenerative medicine: replacing brain cells lost from stroke October is Mental Health Awareness Month. Despite the high prevalence rate of mental illness, there are still many misconceptions about psychiatric disorders.Here are important facts about mental illness and recovery:Mental illnesses are biologically based brain disorders. They cannot be overcome through "will power" and are not related to a person's "character" or intelligence.By 2020, Major Depressive illness will be the leading cause of disability (lost years of productive life) in the world for women and children.Mental illnesses strike individuals in the prime of their lives, often during adolescence and young adulthood. All ages are susceptible, but the young and the old are especially vulnerable.Without treatment, the consequences of mental illness for the individual and society are staggering: unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, suicide and wasted lives.The best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective; between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments and supports.Early identification and treatment is of vital importance. By getting people the treatment they need early, recovery is accelerated and the brain is protected from further harm related to the course of illness.Stigma erodes confidence that mental disorders are real, treatable health conditions. Stigma and a now unwarranted sense of hopelessness has led to attitudinal, structural and financial barriers to effective treatment and recovery. It is time to take these barriers down. (Source: National Alliance of Mental Illness) - (Photo of unhappy woman from Shutterstock) More in Mental health SA psychologists need to get involved at grassroot level More: Mental healthMental health in SA advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Sex US STIs hit all-time high in 2015 Medical Human right-handedness might go back almost 2 million years Mental health Troubled childhood may boost bipolar risk Diet and nutrition Our genes may soon advise our food and lifestyle choices Lifestyle Which skin products are better, ‘medical grade’ or ‘over-the-counter’? Medical Don't believe these asthma myths From our sponsors Keep an eye on your vision Which skin products are better, ‘medical grade’ or ‘over-the-counter’? Win 1 of 6 R5000 cash prizes Win Skin Renewal voucher Live healthier Exercise benefits for seniors » Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them. No relief for MS » Drug shows promise against MS in mouse study Vitamin D may slow multiple sclerosis Obesity in girls tied to higher MS risk Exercise may not lower women's risk of MS A Harvard study showed no evidence to support the idea that exercise lowers the risk of multiple sclerosis.