Learn about mental illness

It is estimated that one in five Canadians will experience diagnosable mental illness at some point in their lives.

Mental illness refers to conditions that can be diagnosed, such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar condition, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa. These are examples of conditions that usually require medical treatment.

Mental health problems describes the more common struggles and difficulties that people experience. When people are stressed, confused or upset, they often feel overwhelmed and incapable of coping. Most often such feelings pass and do not require medical treatment. Nevertheless, these feelings have a real impact on one’s good mental health and ability to thrive and enjoy life. Therefore, those experiencing mental health problems would benefit from help, support and understanding, even in the short term.

It is important to pay attention to unusual behaviour, either your own or that of others. Changes in thoughts, moods, feelings, behaviours and perceptions are part of life. But, if persistent or severe, they may also be signs of trouble —and possibly of mental illness, which, if left alone, could be very harmful.