What is Mental Health?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Mental health problems which affect your thinking, mood, and behavior can be caused by genetic conditions or conditions of the brain, traumatic life experiences or family history of mental illness. Read about our pledge to #stopthestigma.
Also see Anxiety Disorders, ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Schizophrenia, OCD
Mental Health Conditions
Throughout life - from childhood through to old age - we all have the possibility of experiencing periods of poor mental health. However, poor mental health is not the same as mental illness, although sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. People can experience poor mental health and not have a mental illness diagnosis. Similarly, those with a mental illness diagnosis can have periods of mental well-being.
We all have periods when we feel low, stressed, and sad. Mental illnesses are conditions that significantly affect an individual’s mood, thinking, behavior, and how they feel, usually to the extent that they interfere with daily functioning and social interactions.
Common mental illnesses1 include:
How Common Are Mental Health Conditions?
Mental health conditions affect many people living in the United States.
- 1 in 5 Americans experience mental illness every year2
- 1 in 25 Americans are affected by a serious mental condition such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression3
- Young adults aged 18-25 years have the highest rates of all mental illnesses4
Child & Adolescent Mental Health
- Approximately 50% of all mental health conditions begin by the age of 145
- 1 in 5 children have, or will have, a serious mental illness6
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death in those aged 10 to 24 years7
Many of the expected changes in adolescent behavior and personality may mimic early signs of a mental illness - the average delay between onset of symptoms and a mental illness diagnosis has been estimated at 10 years.8 If there is a change in a child’s behavior that persists for more than a few weeks that is interfering with home, family, and school life and functioning, medical help should be sought.9
Concerned parents can:
- Talk to the school
- Talk to the pediatrician
- Seek referral to a mental health provider
- Connect with other families10
Our Mental Health Resources
As with all medical conditions, Jumo Health strives to empower and to support those living with a mental illness by arming children and families with the knowledge to understand their condition--in an accurate yet understandable and relatable way.
Jumo Health recognizes the significance of mental health by not only creating content specific to mental health conditions, but by also acknowledging and addressing psychological aspects of living with any medical condition.
Specific to mental health conditions, Jumo Health has developed titles on ADHD, Autism, Depression, and OCD, and is currently expanding its product portfolio in this field.
Occasional anxiety is part of everyone’s life. With anxiety disorders, however, the anxiety persists and interferes with everyday life, including school and home life, as well as relationships. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, including obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and panic disorder.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is a disorder characterized by inattention and/or hyperactivity that interferes with day-to-day life. People with ADHD may find it difficult to sit still, to pay attention, and to stay focused. They may also be impulsive, making hasty actions without thinking first. Although symptoms of ADHD begin in childhood, they can persist to adulthood.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) affects how a person behaves and communicates. This can lead to difficulties with social interactions, repetitive behavior patterns, and communication challenges. However, ASD covers a wide range of symptoms and affects each person differently. Signs of ASD usually appear in early childhood and last through adulthood.
Bipolar disorder, or manic-depression, causes extreme changes in mood. These mood swings can range from periods of feeling very up with euphoria and lots of energy (mania or hypomania) to feeling very down, sad or hopeless (depression).
Depression is a common and serious mood disorder associated with persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and lack of interest. It can affect every aspect of daily life, including sleeping, working, and eating.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder in which a person has recurring and uncontrollable thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions).
Schizophrenia affects how a person feels, thinks, and behaves. Those affected may find it difficult to distinguish between what is real and what is imagined. Symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, and difficulty thinking. In addition, those affected may also be withdrawn and have difficulty communicating.
There is no single cause of mental illness. For many individuals, a number of different factors are involved, including:
- A history of trauma or abuse
- A family history of mental illness
- Biological factors, such as genes or a chemical imbalance in the brain11
In addition, living with a chronic physical condition, use of alcohol and recreational drugs, and social isolation, can trigger mental illness in susceptible individuals.
For most of those affected by a mental health condition, multiple linked factors may be involved.
Early Warning Signs
Mental illness is different than normal feelings of sadness, stress and anxiety, although It is often not easy to tell the difference between the possible beginnings of a mental illness and an individual’s typical behavior.
Possible early signs of a mental health condition12 include:
- Excessive worrying and fear
- Excessive sadness
- Difficulty concentrating or paying attention
- Extreme mood changes
- Prolonged anger or irritability
- Avoiding social interactions
- Feeling numb or that nothing matters
- Having low or no energy
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Changes in eating patterns
- Changes in sex drive
- Alcohol and/or drug abuse
- Suicidal thoughts
- Difficulty coping with daily living and stresses
- Hearing voice or hallucinations
- Excessive concern with weight or appearance
- Lack of insight into one’s own behavior
Early recognition and intervention are critical for enhancing the potential for recovery.
If you are at all worried about any change in your mental health - how you feel, think, behave - the first step is to see a professional.
Unlike many physical illnesses, there is no single test to diagnose a mental illness. A mental health professional will use the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders to assess your symptoms. Once a diagnosis has been made, a treatment plan can be developed.
The management of a mental illness usually involves different types of treatment approaches, often a combination of:
Psychotherapy, sometimes called “talk therapy”, is when a person has sessions with a trained specialist in a confidential environment, exploring and understanding feelings, and developing coping strategies. There are many different types of psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), and interpersonal psychotherapy.
Most medications used in the management of mental health conditions affect the brain chemicals involved in emotions and thought processing. The medication recommended by your mental health provider will depend on the specific mental illness diagnosis. Medication is usually more effective when combined with psychotherapy.13
Making sure that you are in good physical health can have a positive effect on your mental health, too. Regular exercise, healthy eating, and making sure that you have enough sleep, can all improve your mental health. On the other hand, smoking, drug and alcohol abuse can make damage mental health.14
Living With A Mental Illness
Receiving the diagnosis of a mental illness is challenging. Having a mental health condition is not your fault or anyone else’s, and is nothing to be ashamed of. Mental illness is so often poorly understood by society, which can add to the challenge of living with such a condition. It’s important to remember that you are not alone - mental illness is common, and at least 1 in 5 Americans are similarly affected. Alongside your mental health team, there are many support groups and organizations there to support you and your family.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- National Institute of Mental Health
- Child Mind Institute