Mental illnesses, also known as mental health disorders, are a wide range of conditions that can affect a person's mood, thinking, and behavior. Statistics show that one in five Canadians will experience a mental health problem at some point in their life. Mental health is essential for relationships, personal and emotional well-being, and for contributing to the community or society.The exact cause of mental illness is not known, but there are several factors that can increase the risk of developing a mental health disorder. These include physical factors such as a person's individual genetic makeup, which can put them at greater risk of developing mental illness.
In addition, defects or injuries in certain areas of the brain have been linked to some mental conditions. Abnormal functioning of the circuits or pathways of nerve cells that connect certain regions of the brain has also been linked to some mental illnesses.Experiencing discrimination and stigma, including racism, can also contribute to the development of mental illness. At the hospital, you'll receive counseling, group discussions, and activities with mental health professionals and other patients.Sometimes the symptoms of a mental health disorder appear as physical problems, such as stomach pain, back pain, headaches, or other unexplained aches and pains. Examples of serious mental illnesses include major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.If you have any signs or symptoms of mental illness, see your primary care provider or a mental health professional.
Primary care doctors, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals help individuals and families understand mental illness and what they can do to control or cope with symptoms in order to improve health, well-being and functioning.Taking steps to manage stress, increase your resilience, and increase low self-esteem can help keep symptoms under control. Examples of mental illnesses include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors. Lifestyle changes such as good nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep with good sleep hygiene can contribute to mental health and recovery.