When we experience mental health difficulties, it becomes hard to function. We may have difficulty concentrating, making decisions or sleeping. When these difficulties are not severe, support from friends and family, along with useful self-help strategies, can help to restore our wellbeing.
However, at a more severe level, poor mental health can develop into a diagnosable mental health disorder. As a result, people will often need professional help to recover from or manage their condition.
What are mental illnesses?
Mental health difficulties can become a mental health disorder (also know as mental illness) when they create significant problems. Significant problems include:
- Experiencing several symptoms of a particular mental health condition, not just one or two
- Experiencing the symptoms over a long period of time and/or on most days
- Feeling distressed by the symptoms
- Feeling that recent events (such as moving house or breaking up with a partner) don’t easily account for your symptoms and distress.
- Finding it difficult to do daily activities, such as driving, cooking, working, studying, or social activities
Who gets mental illness?
One in five Australians experience a mental illness each year. Mental illnesses can come and go throughout a person’s life. Some people experience their mental illness only once and then fully recover. Unfortunately, only about half of those affected by mental illness receive treatment.
- About 45 per cent of Australian adults will be affected by mental illness at some time in life. Three per cent will be seriously affected.
- Depression and anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses.
- With treatment and support, the majority of people with mental illness will recover well.
Help is available
Our programs can help you understand what is behind the way you feel and what you can do to feel better.
Our free, self-help and therapist-assisted treatment programs are designed to help you overcome mental health difficulties related to:
- generalised anxiety disorder
- social anxiety disorder
- obsessive compulsive disorder
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- panic disorder, with or without agoraphobia.
Even if you only have some symptoms of a mental health disorder, our programs can help you prevent your difficulties from getting worse and developing into a diagnosable disorder. If you’re not sure what might be going on for you, our free online self-assessment, e-PASS, will help you assess your symptoms and recommend what next steps to take.