American Mental Health- Dealing With Mental Illness

America's Mental Health

With America’s Mental Health Day right around the corner, we have heard a lot about the importance of mental health in our society and how mental illnesses affect the lives of millions of people. While there has been a significant increase in mental disorders in the United States over the last several years, it is important to note that mental illness does not equal mental disorder and that a person with a mental illness does not necessarily need to have a mental disorder to be depressed or have suicidal thoughts.

No doubt, having a mental illness can make a world of difference in your life; however, mental illnesses can often run in families. For example, depression is often present in families, but it is usually not present at birth.

What is Mental illness?

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A mental illness is defined as an abnormal mental state, which can be either acute or chronic. A patient may experience some of the following mental conditions: bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder/anxiety, phobias, and personality disorders. Each of these conditions can cause significant emotional, physical, and mental disturbances in the patient. These types of conditions can also lead to suicide if left untreated.

Treating Disorders using Mental Health Specialist

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To treat these disorders, there is a need for a mental health specialist. When seeking treatment from a mental health professional, the first thing that must be done is to determine the exact cause of the condition. In some cases, the mental disorder itself can be diagnosed during an appointment, while in other cases, the doctor will require additional information in order to reach a diagnosis. This information will include information about the patient’s medical history, family medical histories, and symptoms present in patients diagnosed with any type of mental disorder.

The first step in treating mental illnesses is to determine the underlying cause and begin treatment. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration requires that mental health providers and psychiatrists be licensed to provide mental illnesses treatments. Additionally, mental health specialists must pass rigorous continuing education courses to maintain continuing education credits in their license.

FDA Standards For Specialists

The Food and Drug Administration requires mental health professionals and psychiatrists to complete a standard set of training every five years, called the CERF (Continuing Education in Mental Health Services). Each year, these courses cover many topics, including basic mental health concepts, evidence-based techniques, research methods and guidelines, psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, mental health court reporting and advocacy, litigation support, and policy development. The training provided in this training program or course will prepare your professional for ongoing treatment practices, including communication skills such as assessing and treating comorbid conditions. It also takes into account how to assess psychotherapy sessions with patients who suffer from mood disorders, how to conduct research, and data gathering techniques, and more.

As stated previously, many mental illnesses are difficult to treat. Therefore, when you first see a mental health provider, your mental health provider may refer you to a psychiatrist to help treat your symptoms. However, sometimes it is better to seek out therapy for your mental condition on your own, especially when you feel like you are not responding positively to traditional medications.


Today, there is a variety of therapies available for mental health issues, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), where your professional will guide you through the steps necessary to change your thoughts and behaviors that are leading you to depression, anxiety, or substance abuse, and NLP, which works to change your thought patterns so that you become aware of and treat your own negative thoughts and behavior patterns. Some groups provide support groups specifically for those who have a mental illness. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and NLP have also been shown to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders successfully.

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