From early childhood until death, mental health forms the foundation of thinking and communication skills, learning, emotional growth, resilience and self-esteem. Mental health issues affect people of all ages and can seriously impact developmental milestones, relationships, physical health and overall quality of life. The good news is that in most cases treatment works and people recover, regardless of age. It is never too early and never too late to focus on mental health and seek treatment when necessary.
Children, Youth and Families
Millions of children and adolescents, from families of all social classes and backgrounds, struggle with a serious mental disorder that causes significant functional impairments at home, at school and with peers. However, through appropriate identification, evaluation and treatment, children and adolescents with mental illnesses can achieve success in school, work and family life. Not only do children and adolescents benefit from treatment themselves, families benefit as well and have become essential partners in the delivery of mental health services for children and adolescents. (Source: NAMI, Facts on Children's Mental Health in America )
For most people, adulthood is a time for achieving productive careers and for maintaining close relationships at home and in the community. For adults with mental illness, however, achieving and maintaining employment, relationships and a meaningful quality of life can be difficult. Thanks to major strides in diagnosis, treatment and service delivery, adults with mental illness can recover and rebuild full, productive lives while managing their illness.
Continued intellectual, social and physical activity throughout the life cycle are important for the maintenance of mental health in late life. Older individuals can continue to learn and contribute to society, in spite of physical changes due to aging and increasing health problems. Normal aging is not characterized by mental or cognitive disorders. Still, as the population grows older, mental illness among older adults is becoming a more widespread problem. Luckily, there has been rapid growth in the number of clinical, research and training centers dedicated to the mental health related needs of older people. Effective interventions are available for most mental disorders experienced by older adults. (Sources: Cleveland Network of Care and Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General)
While one in five Americans lives with a mental disorder, estimates indicate that nearly two-thirds of all people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek treatment, especially people from diverse communities. Lack of knowledge, fear of disclosure, rejection of friends and discrimination are a few reasons why they don’t seek help.