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Mental Illness in The Society Assignment

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Background: Mental illness has been a societal problem which has been neglected for a long time. Many societies used to consider mental illness as a bad omen or curse visited upon the affected person or their family. With advancement in medicine and societal awareness, mental illness can easily be treated today and a mentally ill person can be re-integrated into the society during and after treatment. All it needs is early diagnosis, right treatment done by qualified professionals and support from family and society.   

Aim: This review aims to shed light on the various literature pertaining mental health, its causes, types of mental illnesses and effectiveness of treatment involving family and society of the patient.  

Method: Review will be conducted using general search of scholarly medical articles on google and google scholar. Searched terms include mental illnesses, causes and diagnosis of mental illnesses, societal and family support to mentally ill persons.

Results: There is a lot of literature, both off and online, defining and describing mental illnesses in various contexts. The two contexts this review has captured are the general information on what causes mental illnesses, how mentally ill people can be easily diagnosed, the symptoms therein and treatment options available. The other context will concentrate on how the society can contribute towards acceleration or prevention of mental illness though reporting and support.       

Conclusion: Mental illness is a global condition which was previously mis-understood by the society, leading to those affected been shunned or shying away from seeking treatment. But advancement in modern treatment options and the level of awareness created in societies about mental health has contributed immensely to effective observation, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of mentally ill persons. This, combined with preventive measures, has contributed to the severity of mental illness in the society.


Mental illness, types and causes, societal support, reporting.


            According to American Psychiatric association, Mental illnesses are the health conditions that involve changes in a person’s emotions, thinking and/or behaviour and which are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities.

A person’s mental health is the source of their ability to think, communicate, learn, evoke emotions, evoke resilience and self-esteem. Mental health helps in building personal, societal, workplace and community relationships.

            When a person mentally ill, they are medically ill, just like the next person with flu or Malaria, and can seek treatment from a qualified mental health personnel. Most mental health conditions are treatable or manageable if diagnosed early and treatment is sought from a qualified mental practitioner.

            The national institute of mental health states that many people with mental health issues do not want to talk about it or seek medical help for fear of stigmatization from the family, colleagues or the society. There is no specific demographic population of people who are more prone to mental illnesses than the other. Anyone can get it, regardless of their age, gender, status, sexual orientation, background or any other aspect. It is not discriminatory and can affect anyone as long as they are exposed to the social and psychological conditions that contribute to its cause.  


            The objective of this review is to tap into various medical sources discussing about types, causes, symptoms, diagnostic procedures and treatment options for the various mental illness conditions. It will also review how the family and society can contribute to ending mental health stigma and support mentally ill persons.      


            This review is general in nature and is aimed at shedding lighter on the issue of mental illness, history of how the condition was dealt with by the society and doctors in the past and how modern medical practices have contributed to more awareness and acceptance of mentally ill persons by the society.


Types of mental illnesses

            There is a wide range of conditions that affect the mental state of an individual. Some of the mild ones are common to almost every individual while others have severe or chronic effects and only affect people who are exposed to their causes. WebMD describes the common types of mental disorders as including anxiety disorders (fear and dread to certain situations), mood disorders (fluctuations from extreme happiness to extreme sadness), psychotic disorders (distorted awareness and thinking. Includes hallucinations and delusions) and eating disorders (extreme emotions and attitudes involving eating and weight).

The mental conditions which occur on average basis include impulse control and addiction disorders (inability to resist urges and impulses leading to performing of actions that could be harmful to self or to others), personality disorders (extreme inflexible traits which cause problems in social and work circles) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (constant fears and thoughts leading people perform certain rituals and routines).

            Those mental illnesses which are rare include stress response syndrome (behavioural symptoms in response to a stressful occurrence), dissociative disorders (general awareness, disturbances about self), factitious disorders (acting out as a been sick or emotionally affected so as to seek sympathy), somatic symptom disorders (experiencing physical symptoms of pain with an excessive level of distress) and tic disorders (making sounds or non-purposeful body movements that are sudden).

Causes of mental illnesses

            Medline plus, through the U.S national Library of medicine has classified causes of mental disorders into family genes and history, life experiences such as emotional and physical abuse, imbalance of brain chemicals, brain trauma injury, pregnant mother transmitting toxic chemicals or viruses to unborn child, abuse of alcohol or drugs, serious medical conditions or loneliness and isolation. The library also states that mental disorders are not caused by character flaws and are common to anyone in the society, with nearly half of population been affected by at-least disorders with mild symptoms (Hine, Maybery, & Goodyear, 2018).

Observational signs, Diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders

The American psychiatric association states that most signs of mental illnesses start manifesting themselves through small changes which eventually develop into full blown illness. Early recognition of symptoms and warning signs and seeking intervention can help in minimizing the severity of the condition (Rahman, El Werfalli, & Lehmann-Waldau, 2016).

            Some of the signs and symptoms include sleep and appetite changes, mood swings, withdrawal symptoms, drop in activeness, problems in thinking, increase sensitivity, apathy, feeling of disconnection and disorientation, illogical behaviour and thinking and nervousness.     

Medline plus, through U.S national library states that early observation of signs of mental illness and screening is very helpful in stopping full manifestation of the condition. Screening is the examination of a person’s emotional health in order to find if he/she is suffering from any mental disorder. The screening process involves a physical exam administered by the care provider, questions about feelings and behavioural patterns, blood tests etc.

The care provider will then give out a diagnostic assessment of your condition according to the results obtained. Treatment should commence immediately after the diagnosis (Rahman, El Werfalli, & Lehmann-Waldau, 2016).


U.S National Library through MedlinePlus states the various types of care providers for mental disorders as Psychiatrists (medical doctors specializing in mental health), Psychologists (professional trained in psychology who offer counselling), Licenced clinical doctors/nurses and Licenced professional counsellor. 

Treatment administered will depend on the type of mental disorder and its severity. The patient and the care giver should work out a treatment regime which is informed by professional guidance and patient’s preferences (Janssen, Busa, & Wernick, 2019).

Treatment options include brain simulation therapy, meditation, counselling, mental health medications, psychotherapies etc.

How Family and Society Can Help in Supporting Mentally Ill Persons

            According to Mental America Journal, the family and society can play a vital role in recognizing warning signs of mentally ill relative so as to seek medical interventions before escalation of the condition (Metzl & MacLeish, 2015). Signs such as confused thinking, prolonged depression, extreme feelings, social withdrawal, dramatic eating habits change, strong feeling of anger or happiness, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse, hallucinations, intense fear and others are sure signs that a person is probably suffering from mental disorders.

            In order to adequately manage ones coping mechanism, a person with a mental disorder should learn to accept their feelings (by recognizing they abound everywhere and learning more about them), learn how to handle unusual behaviour (by developing a coping strategy with your doctor), establish a support network (from friends, family and colleagues or seeking help from support groups), seeking counselling whenever the patient fells overwhelmed and taking time out from normal routine so as to concentrate on the bothering emotions.

Dealing with Stigma

            The U.S Library services through MedlinePlus states that stigma is very prevalent in mentally ill persons and can come from the society, colleagues or even family members.  The best way to overcome it is to accept your condition and seek treatment, keeping away feelings of self-doubt and shame, participating in activities, joining a support group and speaking against stigma (Metzl & MacLeish, 2015).       

            The centre for addiction and mental health (CAMH) states that the society can take a proactive role in reducing stigma against mentally ill persons by educating themselves about mental illnesses, examining their own attitudes and judgements, educate others on facts about mental illnesses and disparaging myths and stereotypes, focussing on the positive attributes of the mentally ill person and involving them in family, society and community activities so as to create a sense of belonging in them (Metzl & MacLeish, 2015).


            The consensus about mental illness been a disease like any other has been growing with time and the acceptance of mentally ill persons in the society has improved significantly. Research has shown that societies where awareness about mental disorders has been robustly created are more accepting of the condition and cases of mental illness are less among them.


            For mental illnesses to be reduced amongst us, the society has to be adequately taught about mental health, signs and symptoms of mental disorders, what to look for and to do when the signs are discovered and how to support and encourage those who have been diagnosed with mental disorders and are receiving treatment.

The mental illness agenda should be made a major health issue and enough resources provided to the stakeholders in order to ensure all sectors of prevention, care and support are adequately addressed.    

Limitations and Conclusion

            Mental health is a wide area of human health matrix which is primarily consisted of mental illnesses and how to spot, diagnose, screen, treat and monitor mentally ill persons. Mental illness is a wide issue which includes disorders which occur as a result of the human brain not functioning the way it should.

            To treat mental disorders effectively, early screening and diagnosis is very important. The type of treatment plan advised by the care giver and the support given to the patient during and after treatment is also very important. Mental illness cases have significantly reduced due to increased awareness creation and the society’s acceptance that mental illness is a normal occurrence which can affect anyone. 


Hine, R., Maybery, D., & Goodyear, M. (2018). Identity in recovery for mothers with a mental illness: A literature review. Psychiatric rehabilitation journal, 41(1), 16.

Janssen, A., Busa, S., & Wernick, J. (2019). The complexities of treatment planning for transgender youth with co-occurring severe mental illness: A literature review and case study. Archives of sexual behavior, 48(7), 2003-2009.

Metzl, J., & MacLeish, K. (2015). Mental illness, mass shootings, and the politics of American firearms. American journal of public health, 105(2), 240-249.

Rahman, M., El Werfalli, R., & Lehmann-Waldau, F. (2016). Current evidence and use of physical activity in the treatment of mental illness: a literature review. Dtsch Z Sportmed, 68(4), 93-100.

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