What is Mental Illness?

What is Mental Illness?

Everyone has experienced sadness, stress or emotional challenges at some point in their lives. The time might be right to reach out for support from a mental health professional when intense emotional “reactions” (experiences) become overwhelming and interfere with our ability to cope with everyday life.
 
People of every age, race, ability, or socioeconomic status can be affected by mental illness. Today we understand that mental disorders have many root causes, which can create chemical imbalances in the brain and impact our overall health and wellbeing. Evidence has shown that many people with a diagnosis respond well to medication alone, talk therapy or a combination of both.
Today we have a better understanding of the mind/body connection and this has created important treatment options for both mental health and physical symptoms that are respectful of the individual’s needs and preferences.
 
In 2015 the National Institute of Mental Health reported that approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S., or 43.7 million people, experience mental illness in any given year. And according to the US Department of Health and Human Services, mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder (a chronic form of depression) and bipolar disorder are the third most common causes of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18-44.
 
Some people may find it difficult reaching out or are not sure where to turn. Help is available immediately by calling the crisis help line at 1-888-568-1112. If this is not an emergency, please call our Access Call Center at 1-844-292-0111 to learn more about our services. You can also receive mental health treatment from many primary care providers or mental health professionals. If you are looking for community resources, organizations like NAMI Maine, the statewide chapter of the National Association of Mental Illness, can provide the educational and advocacy resources you need. 
  
Today, there are many options for people who have a mental disorder, from outpatient therapy and group sessions to more acute care provided in the hospital. Maine Behavioral Healthcare offers a wide range of services for children, adolescents and adults experiencing serious mental health challenges. These options are part of our continuum of care where professionals use well-established, evidenced-based practices and innovative approaches in partnership with patients and their families.
 
Our services are delivered with the highest possible regard for your privacy and confidentiality.

Learn More

The following sites provide the most current and reliable information about mental health issues:

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