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) NEXT ON HEALTH24X 'The plane is going to crash': Anxiety aboard flight SAA 323 2017-10-17 07:45 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 News 35 women fall pregnant despite using contraception app News 5 diseases you risk getting if we run out of water Lifestyle 5 photos of your cervix you need to see Fitness 4 sprint workouts to help you get faster News QUIZ: How many of these random health facts do you know? News Beware of 3 other diseases besides Listeriosis, officials warn From our sponsors Managing diabetes in the workplace Back-to-school with diabetes Discover treatments that can help reduce acne What can I do to reduce or remove acne marks? Live healthier Terrific Tea! » Rooibos makes cocktails healthier Rooibos: an alternative energy drink More than 10 reasons why rooibos is good for you Today marks the first annual National Rooibos Day, which aims to raise awareness of the health benefits and many uses of rooibos tea. Healthy? Are you sure? » 5 diseases we can get from animals Could your salon visit make you sick? 7 terrifying diseases you could have without knowing it Not all serious illnesses come with tell-tale symptoms. There are diseases that can turn your body into a ticking time-bomb while you're unaware of any danger.