It’s OK to have a mental illness - many of us do. Mental illnesses are common and treatable medical conditions. Nearly one in five Americans live with a mental illness.

They can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, gender, religion or income. Yet, people are still not comfortable talking about mental illnesses and may even delay seeking treatment or support because of stigma. The sooner people get treatment, the greater their chances of recovery.

A Mental Illness Is
  • A medical condition disrupting a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning.
  • Common. Nearly one in five Americans live with a mental illness.
  • Treatable. Most mental illnesses can be treated effectively with medication, therapy, diet, exercise, and support. Recovery is possible.
A Mental Illness Is Not
  • Imaginary. Mental illnesses are very real and very common.
  • Something to “get over.” Mental illnesses cannot be willed away.
  • A character flaw. Mental illnesses are medical conditions, just like diabetes. They cannot be overcome through "will power.”
An Illness Can Be Caused By
  • Trauma. Sometimes traumatic events can play a role in triggering a mental illness.
  • Brain Physiology. Chemical or biochemical changes in the brain can be factors.
  • Genetics. Some mental illnesses get passed along from one generation tothe next.
  • Environment. Exposure to toxins, illnesses, drugs, or alcohol can affect the developing brain in utero.

Common Conditions

Anxiety Disorders

A common group of mental illnesses (panic disorder, OCD, PTSD, phobias) that can often cause people to feel frightened, distressed, or uneasy.

Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity
Disorder (ADD/ADHD)

A condition characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Bipolar Disorder

An illness that typically includes extreme shifts in mood, energy, and functioning that include mania and depression.


An illness that affects one’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, physical health, activity, and sleep patterns. Left untreated, it can lead to suicide.

Eating Disorders

There are three main types: Anorexia Nervosa (severe food restriction), Bulimia Nervosa (binging and purging), and Binge Eating (binging without purging).

Disorder (OCD)

An anxiety disorder where the person experiences intrusive irrational thoughts that appear repeatedly in their mind.

Postpartum Depression

Each new mother is unique and it’s important to know that there is no one cause for postpartum depression. 1 in 7 mothers who give birth each year struggle with symptoms of depression.

Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD)

Brought on by traumatic events, this disorder can be long-lasting and may include re-experiencing, avoidance, arousal, and numbing.


A mental illness where a person experiences psychotic symptoms (hallucinations and delusions), emotional flatness, and trouble with thinking processes.

Stigma Quiz

Can you recognize mental illness stigma?

Go to quiz

Explore Stories

Hear experiences from people living with mental illness.