About Mental Illness

Mental Illness, Mental Disorders or Mental Health issues, are associated with anxiety, distress and/or disability, which may present in behaviour, or mental/cognitive function. Mental Disorders can range in the impact to a persons life, and in intensity.

There are over 400 different mental disorders, that are defined within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM is one of the most common diagnostic tools used to determine if a person has a mental illness or not.

Mental illness and untreated mental illness in particular is a risk factor for suicide. Research shows that mental illness is present in at least 90 per cent of completed suicides and more than 80 per cent are untreated at the time of death.

Despite this a Survey shows more than one in four Australians wrongly think people with severe depression should ‘pull themselves together and push on’

Often, due to the stigma attached many people will not disclose that they suffer from Depression, nor mental illness in general. This can lead to sufferers not being accessing appropriate treatment, which as stated above can increase the risk of suicide.

If you suffer from any mental illness it is vital that you seek appropriate professional assistance. You may wish to speak to your GP, or contact a mental health professional who can point you in the right direction to get help.

If someone you know exhibits behavior which lead you to think that they may suffer from mental illness, including depression, speak to them, ask them if they are OK, share your concerns, offer to support them if they wish to get help, but remember that it is an individuals choice to decide if they need, or want help. If they decide not to get help, be there for them, but don’t pressure them, this will not help and may cause the person to become more isolated.

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