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.

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)


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