National Mental Health Awareness Week

What is mental illness?

nami 2A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.

Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion or income. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan.

Learn more about treatment and services that assist individuals in recovery.


Find out more about a specific mental illness:

Find out more about conditions sometimes related to mental illness:

What does recovery look like?

As people become familiar with their illness, they recognize their own unique patterns of behavior. If individuals recognize these signs and seek effective and timely care, they can often prevent relapses. However, because mental illnesses have no cure, treatment must be continuous.

Individuals who live with a mental illness also benefit tremendously from taking responsibility for their own recovery. Once the illness is adequately managed, one must monitor potential side effects.

The notion of recovery involves a variety of perspectives. Recovery is a holistic process that includes traditional elements of mental health and aspects that extend beyond medication. Recovery from serious mental illness also includes attaining, and maintaining, physical health as another cornerstone of wellness.

The recovery journey is unique for each individual. There are several definitions of recovery; some grounded in medical and clinical values, some grounded in context of community and some in successful living. One of the most important principles is this: recovery is a process, not an event. The uniqueness and individual nature of recovery must be honored. While serious mental illness impacts individuals in many ways, the concept that all individuals can move towards wellness is paramount.

Merely Agog

Mental illness by the numbers

Check out NAMI’s fact sheet, Mental Illness: Facts and Numbers, to find out more about mental illness.

(Thanks to Kitt O’Malley for posting the information from the NAMI website.)

17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathryn McCullough
    Oct 08, 2014 @ 07:08:46

    Thanks for sharing this info, my friend. I didn’t know this was Mental Health Awareness Week! I’m gonna have to do something for this event.

    Hugs from Ecuador,


  2. Littlesundog
    Oct 08, 2014 @ 08:23:07

    Thanks for posting so many helpful links. I love the artwork!!


  3. pegoleg
    Oct 08, 2014 @ 08:38:07

    Thanks for the useful information and reminder. I love your mentally agog card – really one-of-a-kind!


  4. Kitt O'Malley
    Oct 08, 2014 @ 11:17:26

    Thank you, Sandy Sue! Love your Mental Illness Stigma Bingo and your great artwork!


  5. LindaNoel
    Oct 10, 2014 @ 22:54:09

    I wasn’t Aware of it being the Awareness Week — and your Mental Illness Stigma Bingo is Hot Damn! and….Agog ! Do you know this from The Music Man — where the town’s ladies are “all agog” over the band… ? I have never heard/seen ‘agog’ used anywhere besides this… I am so very glad you posted this. Such a long way from The Snake Pit…but with much understanding of the Science of Mental Illness yet to be done.


  6. ahuelon
    Oct 25, 2014 @ 15:10:10

    Reblogged this on A Bipolar Journey.


  7. ahuelon
    Oct 25, 2014 @ 15:38:42

    Thanks for posting this. I shared it on Face Book and reblogged it as well. I am bipolar and a new blogger for less than a month and found so much information that I lacked. A most valuable post with much needed knowledge to be shared by society. I have a friend who has a grandson who was recently diagnosed with being Bipolar after he attempted suicide and his family is really struggling. She follows my blog and face book page so I am certain she will read your blog as well. I am 70 plus and have never read a more accurate description on Bipolar disorder.


    • Sandy Sue
      Oct 25, 2014 @ 17:18:08

      Thanks so much for reading, and welcome to the wonders of blogging! It’s the best therapy I know, and the folks I’ve met (like you) are the best.


  8. abodyofhope
    Oct 27, 2014 @ 08:46:42

    Awesome informative post. And I LOVE the artwork 🙂

    PS, our pages are twins 😀 😀


  9. Morine Barnes
    May 24, 2019 @ 09:46:47

    Congratulations on your “Mental Health Stigma Bingo” treatment and service inspirational thanks for sharing. Morine Barnes 60. Donald 61, Myola 39 & Rommel Edwards 37. Graham 90.


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