This week (9th May to 13th May) is Mental Health Awareness week. Did you know there are over 200 mental disorders? Some are much more common than others, but each one falls into 7 separate categories based on how and what areas the symptoms impact.
With there being over 200 mental illnesses this blog is not going to list every single one. However, this blog will list what category each falls into and whether or not that is a mood disorder or a personality disorder or any further categories which will be further covered.
Also, we will be looking at some of the most common mental illnesses and those that are the least common. We will also be looking into hidden links to our mental health.
Before understanding the different mental illnesses, it is helpful to have an understanding of what is meant by the term mental illness. In brief, a mental illness is a condition which can affect emotions and rational thinking at times. This will be covered in more detail later when we look into the differences between mental health and mental illness.
What are the different categories of mental illnesses?
Each mental illness falls into its own category, based on what exactly that mental illness entails. So how does it affect someone? For example, if it impacts just their mood or personality or more.
Some of the categories that mental illnesses fall into are:
Mood disorders - Depression, Bio polar any disorder that affects mainly someone's mood.
Anxiety disorders - Social anxiety, General anxiety or any further disorders that relate to someone being anxious.
Personality disorders - Borderline personality disorder (BPD), Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) as well as any further disorders that impact someone's personality.
Psychotic disorders - Schizophrenia, Delusional disorder any disorder that will include psychotic symptoms.
Eating disorders - Anorexia, Bulimia and mental illness that have an impact on eating will fall into this category.
Trauma-related disorder - PTSD (post-stress traumatic disorder), ASD (Acute stress disorder) mental illnesses impacted due to trauma will fall into this category.
Substance abuse disorder - being an addiction to a substance, this can be illegal drugs or even prescription drugs/medication. Addiction and substance misuse (alcohol, drugs, gambling)
Each mental illness will fall into one of the above categories, what category they fall into is all dependent on the impact of the mental illness.
What mental illnesses are more common?
Some mental illnesses are more common than others and as well as common mental illnesses, phobias can often commonly be seen in people.
The most common mental illnesses are:
Generalized anxiety disorder
OCD (Obsessive-compulsive disorder)
PTSD (post-stress traumatic disorder)
1 in 4 people will experience a common mental illness each in England alone. Highlighting that common mental illnesses occur quite often.
Statistics show that in an average week in the UK:
8 in 100 people are diagnosed with mixed anxiety and depression.
6 in 100 people are diagnosed with general anxiety
4 in 100 people are diagnosed with post-stress traumatic disorder
3 in 100 people are diagnosed with depression
What mental Illnesses are less common?
As with anything, we have a side of things that are more common as well as a side of things that are less common.
Mental Illnesses that are less common than others:
Erotomania - is a psychiatric illness creating the delusional belief that they are loved by another person, generally of a higher social status. E.g., a TV actor/actress that they believe uses a secret lounge to communicate with them that only they can understand. (Erotomania is often presented alongside Bipolar, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders)
Alien Hand Syndrome - is a rare neurological condition in which one hand is not under the control of the mind. Moves as though it has a mind of its own.
Factitious Disorder - a mental disorder in which someone deceives others by appearing sick, by purposely getting sick or by self-injury. For example, someone may look into a mental illness and try to present themselves as if they have a particular mental illness even without it actually occurring.
Capgras Syndrome - meaning someone has a belief that a place or a person has been replaced with an exact duplicate or imposter.
A person's mental illness diagnosis can change at any point over time. This is called the Mental Health Continuum. We discuss this in our Mental Health First Aid Courses.
Hidden Links to Mental Health
Mental health is such a complex topic, therefore there are many different opinions and theories about what causes mental health problems and also many things that link to our mental state.
For example, our environmental surroundings may impact our mental health. Financial situations, home circumstances and others such as personal relationships may all link to our mental status.
However, there are more links to our Mental Health that are less known about. Things such as our eyesight, which will be covered in a later blog. Prenatal damage, studies have shown that an unborn child being in a stressful environment may lead to mental health problems down the line. Even having poor nutrition and a poor diet can have a negative impact on your mental state.
Psychologists also believe children who had difficult births are more likely to be angry, aggressive, and anxious compared to children who had easy births. Although the infant has an unconscious mind, these early experiences become the blueprint on which future psychological development takes place. [Source:beckerjustice.com]
Also looking at our previous blog regarding maternal mental health we have an understanding that our bladder and incontinence are linked to our mental health. People suffering from pelvic floor problems have much higher rates of depression and anxiety than the general population. Current statistics state that 50% of women have weak pelvic floor issues (I know that this is a lot higher because many are too ashamed to talk about it and see help and support). Statistics like this really speak for themselves and this is why it’s so important we bring this education into schools and break down the taboo of talking about these problems.
Difference Between Mental Health and Mental Illness
Mental Health and Mental Illness are not the same things and many are not aware of this. The difference between the two is very similar.
Mental Health - Refers to someone’s state of emotional and mental well-being. An individual capability to process and deal with everyday situations and even difficult occasions. Mental health can also include how one view themselves and others around them. Someone with a good mental health state could deal fairly well with sudden changes in life.
This is not to say someone with good mental health will not be impacted by difficult situations. This means they will be able to approach and handle these situations more rationally.
Mental Illnesses - These are conditions diagnosed that will impact persons thinking, feelings, mood or behaviour. They must meet a set of criteria to be formally diagnosed. It can be caused by factors like genes, brain chemistry or trauma. Anyone can have a mental illness, regardless of age, socioeconomic class, sex or race. A mental illness is what can complicate someone's mental health by impacting how they think rationally.
Just as it’s possible to have poor mental health but no mental illness, it’s entirely possible to have good mental health even with a diagnosis of a mental illness. Just as with any illness, their times when you may have more suffering than others. This is why knowing the difference between mental health and mental illness can be critical.
Why is it important to raise awareness about Mental Health?
As it is Mental Health Awareness week it is important to understand why and how to raise awareness around mental health.
What benefits does raising awareness of mental health bring?
Well, not only does it help those who are struggling to see that it is okay to have difficult times. It also encourages people to talk about situations they have struggled with and this helps break the associated stigmas.
Raising awareness of the difficulties around mental health, could also quite likely save someone's life!
You are more likely to meet someone about to attempt suicide than about to have a heart attack?
Just as CPR helps you assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid helps you assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis.
Studies show that 1 in 8 adults reach out for support regarding their mental health. However, 1 in 4 adults struggles with their mental health. [source:mentalhealth.org] Therefore, this highlights that only half of the individuals struggling with their mental health actually reach out for help when needed.
Unfortunately, many people feel ashamed to reach out and admit that they are struggling mentally as they feel this means they have failed. Sometimes even being told they are overreacting, being made to feel as if their feeling does not matter or even not being taken seriously leaving them feeling ignored.
It is extremely important to remember that no two people are the same. Everyone is impacted by situations and events differently. So, even if you do not understand why someone feels the way they do, it is important to listen and try to understand Non judgementally. This is so IMPORTANT. We cover this in-depth in our Mental Health First Aid Course
Raising awareness of mental health helps those struggling to feel confident to reach out and get the help and support they need. In turn, raising awareness helps to educate others.
By educating yourself you will learn the signs and symptoms of poor mental health and how to assist someone.
This course is LIFE CHANGING. We strongly feel that every person should have the opportunity to do this course. The knowledge and skills learned really do SAVE LIVES!'
Ways to raise awareness around Mental Health
Ways to raise awareness of mental health would be to:
Listen whenever someone talks about their struggles and how they are feeling.
Never be judgmental of someone’s life situations.
Having a good Mental Health policy within the workplace.
If you are a parent, educate your children on mental health.
Seek help if you yourself need support or treatment.
It is very important to know the correct way to discuss and address mental health problems as it can be such a difficult topic to cover. Hopefully the more awareness around the topic the easier it becomes to discuss and the more everyone understands that it is okay not to be okay.
As mentioned above it is critical that you have the correct knowledge and understanding of how to approach someone to talk about their mental health. If you do not have an understanding you may unintentionally make things worse. If you would like to widen your understanding and help support someone in need we offer Mental Health First Aid courses that will give you a clear understanding of the ongoing mental health problems and how to support someone struggling.
We also offer Menopause in the Workplace.
For further information Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like you can read all about the early to serious signs to look out for regarding mental health in our previous blog “Early Signs and intervention of Mental Health”