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Mental Health Awareness Takes Center Stage in November and Beyond

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What is Mental Illness and When Should I Be Concerned?

By Mary Zamost, quality care coordinator at Network Health
Originally published on 11/15/2021 at 2:30 p.m.

Mental illness is a general term that describes several different mental health conditions that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Many mental illnesses are common and can affect anyone. Examples include depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance use disorder.

Each year, millions of Americans live with a mental health condition, and it is the leading cause of disability in the United States. Mental illness can begin at any age, from childhood through later adult years and can affect everyone directly or indirectly through family, friends or coworkers.

Almost everyone has mental health concerns from time to time. But a concern becomes a mental illness when symptoms cause stress and affect your ability to function.

A mental illness can cause problems in your daily life—at school or work or in relationships. Sometimes symptoms of a mental health disorder appear as physical problems, such as stomach pain, back pain, headaches or other unexplained aches and pains. In most cases, symptoms can be managed with medications, talk therapy or both.   

It’s common for those battling a mental illness to not want to talk about it. Mental illness, however, is nothing to be ashamed of. Like heart disease or diabetes, it is a medical condition. And, like most medical conditions, with the proper treatment, it can be managed.

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Mental health conditions, including mental illness, are treatable. If you feel like you may have persistent issues with your mental health, reach out to your personal doctor or a mental health professional to discuss steps to help you feel like yourself again.

Here are some additional resources you may find helpful.

  • N.E.W. Mental Health Connection, North East Wisconsin - Website    
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) - Website
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) - Website
  • Mayo Clinic Mental Illness  – Website  

In addition, Network Health has a team of behavioral health experts on hand ready to help you out in any way you may need. For more information, contact us today.

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