What is mental illness?
A mental illness is a condition that results in serious disorder in a person’s emotions, thinking or behaviour. Mental illness is often associated with problems or distress in social, work or family environments. On the flip side, mental illness is treatable, allowing the vast majority of people with mental illness to function successfully in regular daily life.
Mental health forms the foundation for positive emotions, thinking and communication. A healthy person is resilient during adversity and has adequate self-esteem and emotional well-being for making a positive contribution to society.
What are the symptoms of mental illness?
Mental illness signs and symptoms can take many forms. Some types of mental health disorders are mild and only interfere with daily life to a limited degree, such as certain phobias (abnormal fears). In severe instances, mental illness can result in hospitalisation.
- Productive behaviour at work, school and home
- Healthy relationships with family, friends and colleagues
- Ability to cope with adversity and adapt to change
- Significant and noticeable changes in thinking, emotions and behaviour
- Distress or difficulty functioning in social, work or family environments
Mental illness doesn’t discriminate, and can affect anyone at any time, although three-fourths of all mental illness conditions manifest by age 24. It’s important to understand that mental illness is a medical condition that can be alleviated or even completely cured. Mental Health First Aid is helping Australians turn the corner toward healthy, happy relationships, and Real Response is proud to be part of the solution.
Types of mental illness and symptoms?
There are close to 300 mental disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Common groups of mental disorders include:
- Mood disorders such a depression and bipolar disorder
- Psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia
- Trauma-related disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder
- Anxiety disorders
- Personality disorders
- Substance abuse disorders
- Eating disorders
The most common types of mental illnesses are depression, anxiety and substance use disorders, often occurring combinedly. Mental illnesses can manifest suddenly or over a long period of time. Examples of mental illness symptoms include:
- Anxiety disorder: excessive worry or fear
- Depression: a persistent sad or low mood
- Unusual and illogical thoughts
- Unreasonable levels of anger and irritability
- Poor memory or concentration
- Hearing voices that can’t be perceived by anyone else
- Lack of motivation
- Increased or decreased sleep
- Eating too much or too little
- Withdrawing from people or responsibilities
- Obsessive behaviour
- A lack of self-worth, potentially resulting in suicidal thoughts
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Ignoring personal hygiene and care
- Poor performance at school or work
What causes mental illness?
Defining mental illness is subject to debate in the medical community, although it is accepted that illnesses can be triggered by biological and psychological makeup as well as difficulties in adapting to societal norms and expectations. Mental illness can occur due to a single trigger incident or a mix of factors.
Genetics: Having a close family member suffering a mental illness can increase the chances of other family members suffering from the same or similar illness.
Early life upbringing: Negative experiences in childhood, such as abuse or neglect, are known to increase the risk of certain mental illnesses.
Stress and trauma: Triggers include domestic violence, relationship breakdown and social isolation. Traumatic experiences increase the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Drug and alcohol abuse: Unhealthy side-effects of drug or alcohol use include manic (bipolar) episodes, psychosis and paranoia.
Personality traits: Certain traits outside the parameters of acceptable norms, such as perfectionism or low self-esteem, are known to increase the risk of anxiety or depression.
Biological triggers: These can include hormonal changes and reactions to short or long-term medical conditions.
How can mental illness for managed?
Mental health issues are a reality that shouldn’t be ignored or underestimated, and this is where Real Response comes into the picture. The world is changing fast, and Real Response education and training professionals have moved with the times, expanding first aid training to accommodate a range of disciplines including mental health first aid. Our Melbourne and Sydney courses are changing lives for the better every day.
Course participants learn how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental illness, along with appropriate intervention methods for assisting anyone in need of support. We will teach you the mental health first aid (MHFA) action plan for administering effective mental health first aid at home, work, school or anywhere else.
When mental health first aid is required.
Where to access professional assistance.
How to provide mental health first aid in a crisis situation.
What type of assistance is proven to be effective.
How to treat mental illness?
Mental illness is treated in various ways, with most people recovering to live positive, happy and productive lives. Treatment varies according to individual considerations such as the severity and history of the illness. In only two days of encouraging and enlivening training, Real Response Mental Health First Aid will teach you how to respond effectively to mental health issues and full-blown crisis situations.
Caring is the first step in helping someone get better, and your efforts to assist a person suffering from mental illness won’t go in vain. In serious cases your intervention can make the difference between life and death. Real Response instructors will help you understand appropriate treatment pathways including psychological therapy, lifestyle changes, complementary therapies and medication.
Real Response will provide you with knowledge, skills and resources for understanding the warning signs and addressing mental health problems when no one else can. You will learn to spot the early signs of mental illness and acute mental illness symptoms. However, there is no substitute for professional medical intervention, and seeking the guidance of a qualified mental health practitioner is always advised.