Understanding Mental Health

Our overall health is very much affected by our mental health and sense of well-being. When we are mentally and physically well, we are able to lead productive lives at home, work and in our communities. Scientists and researchers know a lot about the brain and human behavior. However, mental health disorders are still widely under-treated in the United States. Mental health disorders can take away peoples' hopes and dreams. The general public still lacks understanding of many mental health conditions. In many cases, fear and shame are associated with seeking help.

There are many different forms of mental health conditions that range from mild to severe. These disorders should be treated no differently than we approach the treatment of a physical disease or illness. Some of the most common mental health conditions include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Panic disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Addictions

Seek Help

No one who is having a mental health problem should suffer in silence. Just like any other disease, mental health disorders are treatable and help is available.


Depression is the most common mental health issue in the United States. It can range from mild to severe and left untreated can lead to serious dysfunction. Depression as well as other mental health conditions can also cause physical symptoms like fatigue and loss of appetite.

Many factors can cause depression including:

  • A chemical imbalance in the brain
  • A genetic predisposition (A mental health disorder may run in your family)
  • Major life changes such as the loss of a job or a move to a new place
  • Relationship stresses in a marriage, family problems, or problems at school or work.
  • The death of a friend or loved one
  • Serious illness
  • Financial problems

Treatment for depression may include a combination of resources to help ensure success:

  • Having a key support person and/or family support
  • Taking medication, if prescribed
  • Eating well, exercising and generally taking care of yourself
  • Getting enough rest
  • Participating in individual or group counseling
  • Distancing yourself from stressors, if possible

If you or someone you love is in crisis, please seek help immediately by calling 911 or going to the nearest emergency room

To learn more about mental health issues go to:

Mental Health America
National Institute of Mental Health