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Basic Facts About Mental Illness

Mental Health / Mental Illness Information

Here are some basic facts about mental illness.

  • Mental illness is an umbrella term that includes many different mental conditions.
  • Statistics vary by source but about 25% of Americans will experience mental illness at some time in their lives. In most cases unless you know someone’s history, it is impossible to tell just by looking who has a mental illness.
  • Mental illnesses vary in intensity ranging from mild to moderate to severe
  • Many people with mental illness live independently in their communities, have relationships with people, and hold jobs.
  • Mental illness is treatable with a variety of methods including medication, exercise, behavioral health therapy, and socialization, as well as some specific treatments for certain conditions.
  • Mental illnesses are biological illnesses. They aren’t caused by weak will power or lack of faith.

 One of the gaps in public education about mental illness is that people are not well informed about the different kinds of mental illness or the different causes of mental illness.  This is the first in a series of articles about mental illness.  If you have topics you would like addressed in future articles, please send an email to and your requests will be forwarded to Delores Kessel, LCSW who is writing the articles.

Another of the gaps in public education about mental illness is that people who have frequent contact with those who have mental illness or addictions are often at a loss on how to most compassionately and effectively interact with them.  They want to be supportive; to say and do the right things but they are unsure what to say or do.

 By Delores Kessel, LCSW.  Ms. Kessel was on the advisory council of Community Corner Clubhouse and is a retired mental health provider living in Wausau.

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