Originally posted by bbaker January 4, 2018
Reviewed and Updated: January 16, 2019
If you have a mental health condition, you’re not alone. One in 5 American adults experiences some form of mental illness in any given year. And across the population, 1 in every 25 adults is living with a serious mental health condition such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or long-term recurring major depression.
As with other serious illnesses, mental illness is not your fault or that of the people around you, but widespread misunderstandings about mental illness remain. Many people don’t seek treatment or remain unaware that their symptoms could be connected to a mental health condition. People may expect a person with serious mental illness to look visibly different from others, and they may tell someone who doesn’t “look ill” to “get over it” through willpower. These misconceptions, referred to as stigma, add to the challenges of living with a mental health condition. The good news is that more and more people are speaking out about their experiences with mental illness.
What is important to remember is that every year people overcome the challenges of mental illness to do the things they enjoy. Through developing and following a treatment plan, implement effective self-care, and building a support system, you can dramatically reduce (or even eliminate!) many of your symptoms. People with mental health conditions can and do pursue higher education, succeed in their careers, make friends and have relationships. Mental illness can slow us down, but we don’t need to let it stop us. Recovery is real.