The term “mental illness” represents a broad spectrum of illnesses, including everything from depression and anxiety to schizophrenia and paranoia. Mental disorders influence the way a person thinks, feels, behaves and relates, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe, depending on the specific illness.
While the exact cause of most mental illness is unknown, research is showing that many conditions are caused by a combination of heredity, brain chemistry, psychological trauma and environmental stressors.
Yet many people erroneously believe mental illness is caused by a personal weakness or character defect and all that is needed is a little gumption. It’s that false belief that has stigmatized mental illness, preventing many who need help from seeking it and silencing important community conversations. With #1in4, we hope to change that in our community.
Stigma harms not only people living with mental illnesses but everyone in the community. For those who are ill, stigma leads to exclusion, poor social support, poorer quality of life and low self-esteem. It also affects treatment outcomes, including employment success—which in turn can force more people toward public assistance and result in higher taxes.
- People from getting help (nearly two-thirds of all people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek treatment); and
- People getting good jobs and advancing in the workplace.
- Inadequate insurance coverage for mental health services;
- Fear, mistrust, and violence against people living with mental illness and their families; and
- Prejudice and discrimination.
Some information provided by National Alliance on Mental Illness.