FAQ About Mental Illness



What are mental illnesses?

Mental illnesses are diseases that cause mild to severe disturbances in thinking, feeling and behavior. These disturbances may significantly impair a person’s ability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines. Just like other medical conditions, mental illnesses vary greatly by type, symptoms and severity.

What causes mental illnesses?

Many psychiatric disorders can be linked directly to a biological origin. Others may be emotional or psychological reactions to environmental or social situations. Some of these disorders may be temporary, caused by extreme stress or life changes. Treatment may include medicines, psychotherapies, and social supports.

How common are mental illnesses?

One in three Americans will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. Mental Health problems affect people of all ages, in all income groups, in urban and rural areas and in all religions. No one is immune to mental illness.

Do people ever recover from a mental illness?

Depending on the type and severity of the mental illness, a person can learn to cope, improve or experience a full recovery with proper care and treatment. As many as eight in ten people suffering from mental illness can effectively return to normal, productive lives.

Does mental health treatment work?

The best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective. Between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have a significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments and supports.  For children and adolescents, research shows improved functioning and school performance, improved quality of life and reduction in violence and self-destructive behaviors.  Treatment also decreased recidivism rates for juveniles previously incarcerated in correctional facilities.

How do I get help for a mental illness?

The first step is to talk to your doctor to see if there is an underlying physical cause for the symptoms. If none is found, your doctor may refer you to a mental health specialist such as those at Human Resources Development Institute. Psychiatrists and other doctors may prescribe medications to treat mental illness. Most mental health providers have expertise in psychological and behavioral interventions. For some disorders, medications and psychological treatment work best together.

 How do I become a client of HRDI’s Division of Mental Health?

Call the HRDI Intake department to schedule a mental health assessment and/or screening for you or your family member.  The Intake Department also provides referrals for ineligible consumers to local providers in the community.

The Intake Department can be reached at:
Office: 773-660-4630
Fax: 773-660-4650
Email: mhintake@hrdi.org
Web: www.hrdi.org

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