WHAT IS MENTAL ILLNESS?
A mental illness is a health condition that causes changes in a person’s thinking, mood or behavior. It is sometimes easy to forget that our brain, like all of our other organs, is vulnerable to disease. Mental illness is a health condition just like diabetes or asthma is a health condition. Mental illnesses are more common than cancer and heart disease combined. One in five people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, and one family in four has a member who is mentally ill and who will require some type of treatment. Good mental health is an essential component of good physical health.
HOW DO I GET HELP?
Many mental disorders and illnesses can be successfully treated without an individual having to go to a hospital. Other individuals may need hospitalization. Contact your local community mental health center, and staff will explain the treatment possibilities there. An assessment will occur and a determination will be made if mental health services would be helpful, such as medication, individual and/or family therapy, psychosocial rehabilitation services (therapeutic activities in a day program which can help individuals achieve/maintain as much independence in daily life as possible), residential services, and family or consumer education. If necessary, staff may guide you or the person you are concerned about through the process for hospitalization. This process might include civil commitment at one of the four state psychiatric hospitals. Private providers in your area may also provide treatment alternatives. Some of the main barriers to seeking help, are the misconceptions and stereotypes we have of mental illness and mental healthcare. If you are someone you know needs help, don’t be ashamed or embarrassed.