Understanding and Identifying Mental Illness

If you live in the U.S., you might be one of five adults who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder. If you've ever felt sad, lonely, anxious or helpless for no reason, you may be one of the 20 percent of people worldwide who experience mental illness. Marked by extended periods of emotional instability, difficulty maintaining relationships, unprovoked sadness, fear or paranoia and a multitude of other symptoms, mental disorders plague individuals in a variety of ways. These types of illnesses are more globally prevalent than heart disease and cancer, and are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada. When left untreated, some turn to alternative options to treat their pain. According to the World Health Organization, more than one million people a year die from suicide. That's one person every 40 seconds—with those numbers expected to jump to one suicide every 20 seconds by 2020. While mental illness can rear its ugly head in many tragic outcomes, there is always hope.

Millions of people see mental health professionals, use medication, and actively work to recover from mental illness everyday. But does everyone who is mentally ill have access to these treatment options? What do you do if you or a friend is struggling with a mental disorder? This playlist helps you identify the signs and symptoms of common and treatable mental illnesses. And keep in mind the old adage: It's always darkest before the dawn.

Written by Curiosity Staff June 12, 2014

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