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Understanding Mental Illness

Mental illnesses can take many forms, just as physical illnesses do. Mental illnesses are still feared and misunderstood by many people, but the fear will disappear as people learn more about them. If you, or someone you know, has a mental illness, there is good news: all mental illnesses can be treated.
In this section, you will learn about mental illnesses – which can also be called psychiatric disorders – and their treatment. You will also find helpful resources that provide more information to further your understanding of mental illness.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Frightening situations happen to everyone at some point. People can react in many different ways: they might feel nervous, have a hard time sleeping well, or go over the details of the situation in their mind. These thoughts or experiences are a normal reaction. They usually decrease over time and the people involved can go back to their daily lives. Post-traumatic stress disorder, on the other hand, lasts much longer and can seriously disrupt a person’s life.

 

Postpartum Depression

Bringing a new baby into the family can be challenging at the best of times, both physically and emotionally. It is natural for new parents to experience mood swings, feeling joyful one minute and depressed the next. These feelings are sometimes known as the “baby blues,” and often go away soon after birth. However, some parents may experience a deep and ongoing depression that lasts much longer. This is called postpartum depression.

Preventing Suicide

Suicide. It’s a difficult topic to bring up. However, when someone talks about suicide or brings up concern for a loved one, it’s important to take action and seek help quickly.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness. One of the biggest myths around the illness is that it isn’t treatable. With the right supports, people can work or volunteer, be active in their own care, and contribute to their communities.

Youth and Self-Injury

People cope with difficult thoughts, feelings, or situations in different ways. Some people cope by injuring themselves on purpose—and it may be the only way for them to feel better. Self-injury may seem frightening, but it’s important to look beyond the injuries and see what’s really going on.