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The term “mental illness” is often used to describe a wide range of disorders, from substance abuse to depression to schizophrenia. It can be difficult to discuss all of these conditions in general terms, when each condition comes with its own specific set of risk factors, disease progression and treatment. When researching all mental health disorders, however, one thing becomes clear – these illnesses are surprisingly common.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in 17 American adults lives with a serious mental disorder in a given year. A larger number of adults may experience a less chronic form of mental illness within that same year, and many children and adolescents can also experience mental illness. This is not a disease that discriminates based on age, gender or race.
Even though the diseases are so common, people who have mental illnesses often don’t get the treatment they deserve. If they do come out into the open and ask for help, they face discrimination and taunting. And in some cases, the mental illnesses are so debilitating that the people aren’t well enough to even express the need for help. This is the true shame of mental illness, as many of these diseases can be treated quite effectively.