Annually, one in five American adults experience a mental health issue, one in 10 young people experience a period of major depression, and one in 25 Americans live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. Despite this, studies show that people with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.
Being diagnosed with a serious mental illness can be a shock — both for the person diagnosed and for family and friends, though finally obtaining a diagnosis and treatment plan can help relieve stress and start moving recovery forward. Luckily, those diagnosed today can expect better outcomes than ever before. Medications have improved, and new evidence-based psychotherapeutic interventions can have powerful and positive effects.
There are many different mental health treatments though no one treatment works for everyone. Many with mental illness find recovery in individual or group therapies and, with the guidance of a licensed mental health professional, can chose a combination of treatments and develop a plan that works best for them. Options include psychotherapy, medication, case management, hospitalization, support groups, self-help plans, or peer support.
Medication may help manage symptoms but cannot outright cure mental illness. Research has shown that medication paired with psychotherapy where individuals explore thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in order to improve their well-being is an effective way to promote healthy recovery. Following that treatment plan is key and individuals should not stray from taking prescribed medications without first consulting their doctor. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary when a condition temporarily worsens in order to closely monitor an individual, ensure accurate diagnosis, or to adjust medications.
While it might seem difficult, those diagnosed with a mental illness often lead full lives. After all, people with a mental illness have the same wants and needs as anybody and every year, millions overcome the challenge of living with mental illness by being open about feelings or issues as they arise, developing a support network of friends and family, avoiding self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, following a proper diet, and getting adequate rest and exercise.
Remember, people with mental health conditions can and do pursue higher education, succeed in their careers, make friends and have long lasting relationships. Mental illness can slow some down, but it doesn’t need to stop them.