Mental Health Services: An Overview

HCA image for mental health services Mental health disorders, which profoundly disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, moods, ability to relate to others, and capacity for coping with the demands of life, are common throughout the world. Some mental illnesses are severe enough to require treatment as they create problems that prevent those living with mental illness from enjoying their lives.Even though treatments for mental illnesses today are effective, there are still people with diagnosable mental disorders who do not seek treatment. Stigma surrounding mental health treatment and cost are among the barriers that discourage people from obtaining care.If individuals with a mental disorder get the treatment they need, especially if it is early, many will fully recover from their disorder or be able to successfully control their symptoms. Below is an overview of mental health services and treatment options available to help you or someone you know with a mental health disorder take action.

Where to Go for Help

Although mental health disorders can be debilitating, there is hope for those who suffer from them. First, it is important to be able to recognize symptoms of mental illness. Some symptoms to look out for are:
  • Confusion or indecisiveness
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Social withdrawal
  • Excessive worry or anger
  • Substance abuse
  • Feelings of depression or anxiety
  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits
  • Delusions or hallucinations
  • Hearing voices in your head
  • Inability to cope with day to day routine
  • Unexplained physical conditions
If you think you might need help, particularly if your feelings and experiences are overwhelming, there are a number of places you can turn to and things you can do to ease the situation.For information about resources available in your community, a good place to start is The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Mental Health Services Locator, which allows you to find what is available in your state. In addition, you might want to contact your local mental health center. The National Council for Community Behavioral Health Care can help you locate a community mental health center in your area. You can also try an affiliate of a national self-help organization, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illnessor the National Empowerment Center, which will tell you about services designed to meet your specific needs.

Points to Remember

Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income. They are not caused by weakness or lack of character. And yet, stigmatization of people with mental disorders persists. Do not let this stop you from seeking the care you need. The consequences for people with a mental health disorder who fail to obtain treatment include disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, or suicide. The sooner you get help, the sooner you will feel better.

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