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Understanding Mental Illness

If you have a mental health condition, you’re not alone. One in 5 American adults experiences some form of mental illness in any given year. And across the population, 1 in every 25 adults is living with a serious mental health condition such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or long-term recurring major depression.

As with other serious illnesses, mental illness is not your fault or that of the people around you, but widespread misunderstandings about mental illness remain. Many people don’t seek treatment or remain unaware that their symptoms could be connected to a mental health condition. People may expect a person with serious mental illness to look visibly different from others, and they may tell someone who doesn’t “look ill” to “get over it” through willpower. These misperceptions add to the challenges of living with a mental health condition.

Every year people overcome the challenges of mental illness to do the things they enjoy. Through developing and following a treatment plan, you can dramatically reduce many of your symptoms. People with mental health conditions can and do pursue higher education, succeed in their careers, make friends and have relationships. Mental illness can slow us down, but we don’t need to let it stop us.

Diagnosed with a Mental Health Condition

Unlike diabetes or cancer there is no medical test that can provide a diagnosis of mental illness, but getting a diagnosis is a useful step in receiving effective treatment and improving your quality of life.

Understanding Your Diagnosis

Some people with mental health conditions experience relief and hope when they get a diagnosis. Others may feel like a diagnosis is “just words,” but getting a diagnosis is a useful step in receiving effective treatment and improving your quality of life.

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Understanding Health Insurance

Insurance is a crucial tool that can grant access to needed treatment to get well. Getting insured may seem like a complicated process, but knowing the basics can help you find coverage.

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Finding a Mental Health Professional

Finding a mental health professional that works well with you isn’t always easy. Here are some ideas to help you pick the right one.

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What to Do in a Crisis

If you are thinking of harming yourself or others, or are having thoughts of suicide, don’t be afraid to speak openly and honestly if you need help. You are not alone and there is support available. More

Taking Care of Yourself

Every year people overcome the challenges of mental illness to do the things they enjoy. Through developing and following a treatment plan, you can dramatically reduce many of your symptoms.

Taking Care of Your Body

It’s crucial that you advocate for your own health so you can receive the best care possible.

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Romantic Relationships

When you’re living with a mental health condition, you may wonder whether or not to talk about it with your significant other. Here are a few questions that you may be asking yourself.

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Faith & Spirituality

Learn how faith and spirituality can help your recovery, what makes a good faith community and how you can help your faith community be more open to people with mental health conditions.

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Disclosing to Others

Talking with others about your condition can be beneficial for your relationships. Thinking about who you should talk to and how you share this information can help you build a network of support. More

Navigating Finances and Work

Living with mental illness can sometimes lead to challenges balancing work, finances and home life. Finding a stable job and housing can help you on your path to recovery.

Succeeding at Work

A mental health condition shouldn’t be a barrier to having and keeping a job. Discover what accommodations you can ask for and how to ask for them to help you succeed.

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Finding Stable Housing

For someone with a mental health condition, the basic necessity of a stable home can be hard to come by. The lack of safe and affordable housing is one of the most powerful barriers to recovery.

Getting Help Paying for Medications

Paying for medication out of pocket can be very expensive. Learn ways to help you cover the costs.

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Additional Support

Depending on your needs and circumstances, additional benefits and supports may be available to you through government, public and private systems.

Reentry After a Period of Incarceration

You’re leaving prison soon, so it’s important to plan for a successful transition. You should start planning for your release several months before your release date.

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Social Security Disability Benefits

Some people living with a mental health condition find that there are periods of time when working becomes too difficult. Fortunately, there are two programs run by the Social Security Administration that provide monthly income and health insurance for people unable to work.

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