About Mental Illness

About Mental Illness

25% of adults will experience mental illness. Of those, only one in four will get treatment. Like physical illnesses, mental illnesses are treatable.

It’s wrong and dangerous to think of mental health and physical health in different ways. They’re both equal components in the definition of wellness.

There are many types of mental illnesses. Some of the most common are:

What depression isn’t:

  • It’s not having a bad day.
  • It’s not something to be ashamed of.
  • It’s not a character weakness.

What depression is:

  • A serious, treatable illness that changes the brain’s physical structure.


  • Lack of energy; fatigue
  • Loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities
  • Unintentional weight gain or loss
  • Increased use of alcohol or other substances
  • Sleep issues
  • Agitation or aggression
  • Feelings of low self-worth, guilt or shortcomings
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Sometimes—not always– thoughts of suicide

The most common mental health concern in the United States. We all experience anxiety. But when feelings of fear and distress become overwhelming and prevent us from doing everyday activities, an anxiety disorder may be the cause.


  • Feelings of apprehension or dread
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Anticipating the worst and being watchful for signs of danger
  • Pounding or racing heart and shortness of breath
  • Sweating, tremors, and twitches
  • Headaches, fatigue, and insomnia

Obsessions are intrusive, irrational thoughts or impulses that repeatedly occur. Compulsions are repetitive acts that temporarily relieve the stress brought on by an obsession.


  • Multiple hand washings due to fear of germs
  • Counting and recounting money to make sure they added correctly
  • Checking multiple times to see if a door is locked or the stove is off

Dramatic mood shifts. Very high highs and very low lows. Sometimes: hallucinations, delusions, impulsive behaviors, and/or risk-taking. Treatment typically includes medications and psychotherapy, but may also include self-management strategies and health approaches such as meditation.