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Mental Health Disorders - Facts You Should Know

Child, Teen, Adult, or Elder - Mental health problems can affect anyone at any time, regardless of age, race, and social or economic class. By Our World in Data estimates, one in ten people globally (10.7%) lived with a mental health disorder in 2017. [1]

Everyone faces adversity from time to time. Stress, anxiety, and sadness are normal emotions that everyone goes through sometimes. However, if not managed properly, they can start to interfere with one's life in a serious way.

Mental health disorder is a health condition that affects a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior. There are many types of mental disorders such as anxiety disorders, bipolar affective disorder, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, psychosis, and substance abuse. The term “mental disorder” is also used to refer to these health problems.

The spectrum of mental disorders is vast, and the signs and symptoms may be clear or subtle or may overlap with other illnesses. Symptoms also vary from person to person and may change over time.

In the United States, 46,4 % of adults experience a mental illness during their lifetime according to the CDC. Global studies show that depression affects an estimated 300 million people and nearly 4 percent suffer from anxiety disorder worldwide [2]. Youth depression rates have also risen from 5.9% to 8.2% since 2012 [3].

During the last couple of years, the public conversation around mental health has risen. However, mental health disorders are still commonly misunderstood topics. To raise awareness we compiled a few points about the topic.

It is to be noted that these findings do not replace the assessment of a health care professional, and you are always encouraged to seek further advice from a professional.

1. Anxiety triggers are different for everyone

In anxiety disorder, a person experiences excessive and often constant worry and anxiety. A certain amount of anxiety may give you a boost of energy and be useful, but for people with anxiety disorder, the worry and fear are not temporary but continuous. Nervousness, fear, panic, rapid heartbeat, and sweating can all be symptoms of general anxiety disorder. [4]

The elements - events, emotions, or experiences - that may cause symptoms of anxiety are called triggers. Although anxiety triggers differ from person to person, some common triggers are identified, such as underlying medical conditions and stressful life events. Identifying triggers can be helpful in treating anxiety.

If you notice early signs of anxiety, don’t be afraid to talk to someone about what you are feeling and seek professional help.

2. The signs of depression

Depression, also known as major depression, is one of the most common mental health illnesses globally. There is no single and straightforward cause for depression. Indeed, depression results from a complex interaction of psychological, social, and biological factors. The stressful life events in our lives can lead to depressive episodes or worsen existing depression. [5][6]

Like anxiety, depression can also manifest itself and affect people in many different ways. Common but not so often discussed symptoms of depression include feelings of guilt or numbness, difficulty making decisions and thinking clearly, poor concentration and memory, losing temper more than usual, sleeping difficulties, and appetite changes.

Remember, if you or someone you know is experiencing intense worry or sadness, and it is disrupting their ability to cope with everyday life, there is support available.

3. Mental health stigma - a threshold for seeking help

An American Addiction Centers Resource explored American views on mental and physical health. Respondents (over 2,000 people living in the United States) were asked how long they could wait before seeking treatment for a mental illness or physical ailment.

The study showed that the threshold for seeking help for mental illness is often higher than for physical ailments. 40 percent of the respondents said they would wait a month to pursue treatment for mental illness, while almost 23 percent admitted they wouldn’t seek help at all. Comparatively, 66 percent of respondents would not wait longer than one week to seek treatment for a physical ailment. [7]

4. Women are more likely to seek mental health help than men

A study from St. Michael’s Hospital and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Science published in 2014 shows that there are gender differences in seeking treatment for mental health problems. The study found that women with chronic physical illnesses are 10% more likely to seek support for mental health issues than men with similar illnesses. [8]

According to Mental Health Foundation (2021), one in four women experience depression compared to one in 10 men. It’s not clear why this is, but factors such as poverty, isolation, and hormonal changes are likely to make an impact. Some researchers also believe depression is under-reported in men. [9] Read more by visiting

5. Seek help sooner, rather than later

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, mental illness can begin at any age, from childhood through later adult years, but most cases begin earlier in life. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, three-fourths of mental health illnesses start by the mid-20s, and half of all mental illnesses show early signs before turning 14. [10][11]

If you’re experiencing depression, anxiety, or any mental illness, the sooner you recognize the problem and take steps to cope with it, the easier it will be to get on top of it.

Seeking help can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially when you're not feeling well. But remember, you're not alone, and you deserve support when you need it.

The article is written to raise awareness of mental health disorders and help break the prejudices that many of us still live with.


  1. "Mental Health." Our World in Data, 2018. Accessed March 10, 2020.

  2. “10 things you might not know about mental health.” AXA, 2021. Accessed February 20, 2020.

  3. "Mental Health Facts: Children and Teens." National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2017. Accessed February 16, 2021.

  4. Barlow, D. H. (2002), Anxiety and its disorders: The nature and treatment of anxiety and panic, Second Edition. Guildford Press, p. 134.

  5. “Depression.” WHO, 2020. Accessed February 20, 2021.

  6. "Mental disorders." WHO, 2020. Accessed February 20, 2021.,mental%20disorders%20such%20as%20depression

  7. “One in four people in the world will experience a mental or neurological illness at some point in their lives.” - American Addiction Centers, 2020. Accessed January 6, 2021.

  8. “Women More Likely Than Men to Seek Mental Health Help, Study Finds.” Time USA, 2014. Accessed February 6, 2021.

  9. “Women and mental health.” Mental Health Foundation, 2021. Accessed February 20, 2021.

  10. "Mental Health Myths and Facts." U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2017. Accessed February 16, 2021.

  11. Jones, P. B. (2013) Adult mental health disorders and their age at onset. British journal of psychiatry. [Online] 202 (s54).

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