Frequently Asked Questions
What is mental illness?
Mental illnesses are brain disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders and major depression. A mental disorder can affect a person’s thoughts, moods, and/or behavior as well as their ability to cope with the demands of life. Mental illness can happen to anybody regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, or background. to top
What is serious mental illness?
Serious mental illness includes Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, and Anxiety Disorders. Serious mental illnesses disrupt a person’s ability to carry out essential aspects of daily life, such as self care, forming and maintaining relationships, or maintaining a household. According to the Michigan Mental Health Code, a Serious Mental Illness is a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder affecting an adult that exists or has existed within the past year for a period of time sufficient to meet diagnostic criteria specified in the most recent diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association and approved by the department and that has resulted in functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. to top
Does mental illness only affect certain people?
Mental illness can happen to anybody regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, age, or background. to top
Can a person recover from mental illness?
Mental illness is treatable. People with mental illness can and do recover. Mental health recovery enables a person with a mental health disorder to live a meaningful life in a community of his/her choice while striving to achieve his/her full potential. to top
What are some of the barriers to a person’s recovery?
- One of the main reasons why people do not seek help is because of the stigma associated with mental illness. Stigma is a barrier to recovery.
- Inadequate insurance coverage and lack of resources
- Distrust of mental health services
- Lack of support from family and friends
What is Stigma?
Stigma occurs when we label a particular group of people as less worthy of respect than others or less able than others. The stigmatization of mentally ill persons has led to discrimination in housing and employment, misconceptions perpetrated by the media when criminal acts are sensationalized, and their disability being used as a source of humor in comedy routines. The fear of discrimination discourages individuals and their families from seeking the necessary help. to top
How can poor mental health also impact physical health?
Mental illness may keep persons from taking the necessary precautions against disease. If combined with inadequate hygiene this may lead to physical problems such as respiratory infections, skin disease, exposure to tuberculosis or HIV AIDS. Some mentally ill persons self-medicate which can lead to addictions and disease transmission from injection drug use. to top
What is the connection between mental illness and homelessness?
In a 2008 survey conducted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors almost half of the cities polled listed mental illness as the 3rd largest cause of homelessness for single adults. Because of the stresses of living with a mental disorder, people with mental illnesses are much more likely to become homeless than the general population. Mental illness combined with substance abuse and poor physical health make employment retention and housing stability extremely difficult. Better mental health services will combat not only mental illness but homelessness as well.
Even if homeless individuals with a mental disorder are provided housing, without access to continued treatment and support services they are unlikely to achieve housing stability. See DCC’s Supportive Housing Programs. to top
Can a person with a mental illness maintain employment?
Severe mental illness will present challenges which, with the right support a person can overcome. DCC has the resources to help persons with mental illness acquire the skills necessary to find and maintain employment. See DCC’s Supportive Employment Programs. to top
How can I help a person diagnosed with a mental disorder?
- Avoid the use of label words
- Show kindness and respect
- Help to eliminate discrimination against housing, employment, or education
- Be supportive. Express interest, show concern, ask questions, listen, and be responsive.
- Become an advocate whenever the opportunity arises
- Donate your time, money, or possessions to organizations serving the mentally ill.