PSYC 235- Week One: Mental Illness
What is Mental Illness?
- alterations in thinking, mood or behaviour associated with significant distress and
impaired functioning over an extended period of time
- mental and physical health are often intertwined
opeople suffering from mental illness can often develop physical symptoms
and illnesses (ei. Chemical imbalances, weight loss, eating disorders, etc.)
oThoughts & feelings have a strong effect on physical health and can affect
the effectiveness of treatment and extend the duration of the illness
- 54% of those with a history of at least one mental illness also had at least one
other mental illness or addiction to substances
How Common are Mental Illnesses in Canada?
- estimates 1 in 5 Canadian adults will experience a mental illness during a 1-year
- In the U.S: personality disorders affect 6-9% of the population
- Specific illnesses outlined on chart (p.17)
Impact of Mental Illnesses
Who is Affected by Mental Illness?
- Some mental illnesses are more prevalent in some population groups
- Most mental illness data comes from hospitals, but this is inaccurate since many
people with mental illness receive treatment in the community (not hospitalized)
or don’t receive any treatment at all
- In most age groups, more women experience mental illness than men
- Highest affected age groups: 15-24, 25-45
How do Mental Illnesses Affect People?
- onset of most mental illnesses occurs during adolescence and young adulthood
- Affects: educational achievement, career opportunities, and the formation of
oMinimizing the negative effects of all three of these is essential in
minimizing the impact of mental illness
- Mental Illnesses account for 4 of the 10 leading causes of disability (Major
depression, OCD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia)
- Possible effect on family: financial burden, stress/uncertainty about future,
isolation from the community
- productivity losses (ex. Absence from work)
- health care costs
- estimated annual economic impact of mental illness: $14.4 billion
Stigma and Discrimination Associated with Mental Illnesses
- Stereotyping, fear, anger, avoidance, embarrassment
Important to education physician on proper diagnosis of mental illness and to know when to refer the patient to others: creating and distributing consensus treatment guidelines is the first step, shared care model: psychiatrists and mental health professional work with family physicians, providing support and counseling assistance in the daily clinic setting, ideal primary care model: would involve psychiatrists, physicians, social workers, psychologists, pharmacists and others working in a collaborative system. Hospitals: crisis interventions, help individual & family in coping with the mental illness, serves as a safe environment during times of suicidal thoughts or compromised judgment due to mental illness, can assist in proper diagnoses and stabilization of symptoms, long term hospitalization can lead to difficult transition back into community, but hospital team works to ensure this occur smoothly, hospital based programs exist to improve independent living skills, teaching individuals social, communication, and functional living skills.