A Mental illness is a health problem that affects the way in which an individual, thinks, acts, behaves and interacts with others.A mental illness is diagnosed by a certain criteria or assessment. Closely followed by seeing a clinical professional which includes a psychologist and psychiatrist. 

Mental illness is not the same as mental health. Experiencing poor mental health or mental ill health is also not mental illness. Although both are very closely linked and related they can not be categorized as the same. 

If you are experiencing poor mental health or mental ill health you need to understand that if the signs and symptoms of mental ill health or poor mental health last longer that 2 - 3 weeks you need to seek professional help. 

Leaving this untreated can lead to further mental health struggles and in some cases individuals can be diagnosed with a mental illness.  

The main mental illnesses include

- Depression 

- Anxiety

- Bi polar - Type 1 & 2

- PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)

- Schizophrenia 

- Personality disorders

- Addiction, substance abuse disorder

- Panic disorders

- Phobia disorders


- Eating disorders

Some treatments for mental illness include CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), psychology, psychiatry, medication, personalized coping strategies (eg mindfulness, exercise, gratitude, nutrition, breathing techniques, lifestyle changes), hospitalization, schema therapy, ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), hypnosis

Persons living with mental illness can manage their mental illness and live fulfilling lives. Being pro active rather than re active is the key. Mental illnesses can be treated in many different ways depending on the individual's diagnosis and the severity of the diagnosis.

Everyone is different and everyone's mental illness is different. Various treatments affect individuals in different ways and many treatments are run in conjunction with others (eg medication with CBT and regular psychology appointments). Different treatments work differently with every individual some are effective and some are not as effective. It is recommended you work very closely with a clinical professional if you have been diagnosed with a mental illness. 

Approximately 2 thirds of individuals diagnosed with mental illness do not seek treatment. Leaving a mental illness untreated can lead to many issues and poor quality of life. Nearly 10% of individuals living with mental illness die by suicide, but not everyone that dies by suicide has a mental illness either.

If you are experiencing mental ill health or if you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, please be pro active in seeking help. Your first port of call should be your GP. DO NOT let the negative stigma of society oppress you and stop you from seeking help. I know how hard it is seeking and finding help, but there is some great organisations and people out there that are dedicated to helping individuals struggling mentally.

If you are suicidal or having suicidal thoughts call Lifeline 13 11 44 or 000. Remember there is always light at the end of the tunnel and if you can’t find it find someone who can help you find it. Your life is precious and you are loved.