Home » Advocacy » Education » About Mental Illness

About Mental Illness

Just as people can experience medical illnesses, they can also experience mental illnesses. Mental illnesses, also called mental disorders, can affect people of any background, ethnicity, socioeconomic group, and age. A medical illness might make it difficult to walk; a mental illness can make it difficult to learn, to work, to maintain relationships with people or to cope with life’s daily activities. While a medical illness may be easy to identify, a mental illness is often unseen.

LifeNet’s Network of Care is a comprehensive online mental health resource for individuals, families and agencies in need of help and information.

Explore specialized, online mental health certificate programs developed by MHA-NYC, as well as a range of mental and behavioral health courses you can take online. Learn more.


Mental Illness in Children

More than 11% of U.S. children and adolescents suffer from a serious mental disorder that causes significant impairment, yet 70% are not identified and do not receive mental health services.

For children with emotional and/or behavioral health challenges, MHA-NYC operates Adolescent Skills Centers and Family Resource Centers in New York City.


Mental Health in Adults

Since most people are uncomfortable talking about mental illness, they have no idea how common it truly is.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older – about one in four adults – suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census, it translates to 57.7 million people.

Learn more about mental health and browse conditions, symptoms, medications and more on our LifeNet Network of Care site.


Mental Illness in Seniors

Having good mental health throughout life does not ensure immunity from mental illness later on. Seniors are at risk for several specific mental illness:

  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s Disease

Mental Illness in Veterans

Veterans returning to civilian life from Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from tragically high rates of mental and substance use disorders.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has become a hallmark injury among returning veterans, with a prevalence rate of approximately 20 percent-a rate two to three times the general population. Learn more about PTSD.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) can also result in emotional challenges, including dementia and depression. Find out more about TBI and MHA’s new TBI and Emotional Wellness Alliance, created to raise awareness about the psychological issues that can develop from this physical injury.

Learn more about veterans with mental illness in an article by Kimberly Williams, director of our Center for Policy, Advocacy, and Education.


More Resources