Mental illness is common, in Canada 1 in 5 individuals will experience a mental Illness at some point in their lifetime. One of the best ways you can help someone with mental illness is by understanding what it is and what it is not. After all, myths about mental illnesses contribute to stigma, which in turn prevents those who are living with mental illness from seeking help.
Mental illness is a disorder of the brain. There are different kinds of mental disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD and schizophrenia, each characterized by a different set of symptoms. Diagnosis of mental illness can take time.
Similar to many diseases of the body, mental illness has multiple causes—from genetics to other biological, environmental and social/cultural factors. And just as with most diseases, mental illnesses are no one’s fault. Importantly the unusual behaviours associated with some illnesses are symptoms of the disease—not the cause.
Mental illnesses are common, real and treatable through medication and psychosocial therapies—allowing those who live with them the opportunity to lead full and productive lives.
Psychosis is a serious but treatable medical condition that reflects a disturbance in brain functioning. A person with psychosis experiences some loss of contact with reality, characterized by changes in their way of thinking, believing, perceiving and/or behaving. For the person experiencing psychosis, the condition can be very disorienting and distressing. Without effective treatment, psychosis can overwhelm the lives of individuals and families.