About Mental Illness by dfhercbml


									About Mental Illness

Just as physical illnesses can take many forms, so too do mental illnesses. Mental illness is an
umbrella term that includes such major mental illnesses as mood disorders (such as depression and
bipolar disorder), anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, personality disorders, and eating disorders.

Mental illnesses are still feared and misunderstood by many people in our society right now because
many don’t know enough about them. It is the “fear of the unknown.” This fear will disappear as we
take the time to learn more about mental illnesses-its causes, effects on people’s lives, and treatments.
Education is the most important first step in removing the social stigma associated with mental health
issues-by gaining knowledge, this will encourage and empower those who have it to seek professional
help. Education for family, friends, and loved ones of those who have mental health issues is also vital
because it gives you confidence to help, and it gives you hope for treatment. It is very encouraging to
know that all mental illnesses can be treated and most people can make a full recovery.

Reference: Canadian Mental Health Association

Important Knowledge and Numbers About Mental Illness

       Everyone in Ontario is affected by mental illness either directly or indirectly. 20% are directly
        affected by mental illness during their lifetime, while the remaining 80% are indirectly
        affected through friends, family, and colleagues. 1
       The number of Ontarians requiring mental health services is increasing. Of those requiring
        mental health services, the majority are affected by mild forms of mental illness. These
        “milder” diagnoses include mild depression, anxiety disorders and phobias, and seasonal
        affective disorder (SAD). While the percentage of all health care users in Ontario rose by 4%
        between 1992 and 1998, the percentage of patients requiring mental health services rose by
        13% 2.
       1 % of Ontarians suffer from schizophrenia
       3% of Ontarians suffer from bipolar disorder
       5-12% of men and 10-25% of women in Ontario will have at least one episode of major
        depressive disorder in their lifetime.
       Studies indicate that more than 90% of suicide victims have a diagnosable psychiatric illness.3
       The number of suicides in Ontario increased from 930 in 1997 to 1,032 in 2001
       Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds in Canada and 16% among 16-
        44 year olds.
       Studies consistently confirm a 50-80% prevalence rate of sexual and physical abuse among
        persons who later receive a diagnoses of mental illness
       As many as 70% of outpatients and 72% of inpatients diagnosed with serious mental illness
        have histories of abuse. 4
References: Canadian Mental Health Association (unless otherwise indicated)

             1. Health Canada. (October 2002). A Report on Mental Illness in Canada. Ottawa,
             2. Lin, E. and Goering, P. (1999). The Utilization of Physician Services for Mental
                Health in Ontario. Toronto: Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.
             3. Weir, E. and Wallington, T. (2001). Suicide: The Hidden Epidemic, CMAJ; 165
4. Newmann, J.P. Abuse Histories, Serious Mental Illness, and the Treatment and
   Recovery Process. http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/aging/newmann.htm

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