Mental Health Conditions

Mental Health Conditions

Mental disorders are medically recognized disorders that affect mood, thought and behavior. Mental health conditions can lead to serious problems, such as difficulties functioning at home or at work. You could be suffering from anxiety, depression or both. These disorders can be very severe, resulting in a decreased quality of life and even a suicide attempt. There are effective psychological treatments and, for some patients with severe disorders, medication is also an option. You can have devastating consequences if you don’t seek help with a mental disorder. Untreated mental illness costs the US economy more than $100 billion per year. 

Anxiety disorders, depression, and post-traumatic disorder (PTSD) are the most common mental diseases. In the ABS National Health Survey of 2017-18, it was found that 20,1% of Australians (4.8 million) had a mental illness in the past 12 months. Women and people with lower incomes were more likely to be in distress.

How can you tell if you suffer from a mental illness?

A doctor will ask you questions about your feelings and examine your body to diagnose a mental illness. Other professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrists and occupational therapists can sometimes provide a diagnosis. You will need to consult a psychologist or psychiatrist if your symptoms are severe, and affecting your daily life.

What are the causes of mental illness?

Researchers are still working to determine what causes mental illnesses, but they know it is not one thing. Genetics and the way your brain functions are among many factors that can cause mental illness. Your lifestyle, environment, family, culture and traumatic life events are all important factors. Mental illness can be caused by certain medications or changes in chemical messengers within your brain.

Anyone can develop mental illness, no matter their race, religion, or gender. It’s not due to a lack of character or poor education, and can be treated like any other condition. It’s good to know that people with mental illnesses can recover if they receive the right therapy, support and medication. Encourage a family member or friend to get help if you are worried. The sooner they seek treatment, the greater their chances of recovering. For support and advice, you can contact the suicide prevention helpline. You can also find community support services such as Alcohol and Drug Helpline Australia and Men’s Shed. Visit our page on Getting Help for more information. Download our free mental-health fact sheet.