Mental illness refers to any condition that disrupts a person’s mental health.
‘Mental health’ and ‘mental illness’ are often used interchangeably, but it is important to note that mental health is not a bad thing. It is a term that refers to your overall mental and emotional wellbeing.
Mental illnesses are a range of conditions that negatively affect your mental health, thoughts, behaviours, and feelings. Your mind can suffer illness just like your body can get sick or injured. Mental illness also needs treatment like a physical illness does, and in some cases may require the use of home support services to ensure optimum wellbeing.
Issues with mental health are common and experienced by most people at some stage. Nearly half of all Australians will experience a mental health disorder in their life.
Severe mental illness can be a significant disability that prevents a person from going about daily life. That does not mean people with mental illness are weak, or need to ‘toughen up’. Mental illness is common, and can affect anyone, and can be managed with the right external or home support services.
Mental illness can be caused by socioeconomic circumstances, access to basic needs, education and employment, living conditions, traumatic experiences or stressful life circumstances, or be genetically linked.
Everyone’s experience of mental illness is different. You might not think of yourself as having a mental illness, but still feel like something isn’t right.
Many people are not comfortable talking about their mental health because of negative attitudes surrounding mental illness or its causes (such as struggling with gender or sexual identity).
You might be in circumstances that affect how you or your loved ones think and feel about mental health. Doctors and mental health workers in Australia are trained to be sensitive to your needs and circumstances and can be accessed through NDIS service providers.