Understanding Mental Health

Understanding Mental Healt
Last Updated April 2023

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Almost 6 in 10 people (58%) in the United States are concerned about their mental health, and 42% often feel anxious and depressed. Yet, only 20% indicate they are seeking mental health support consistently when needed, according to research findings from nonprofit Transamerica Institute. To help address this issue, this guide has been created to help educate people about mental health and how to access support. 

Always consult a medical professional for any mental health related concerns.  

What is Mental Health & Mental Illness? 

Caring for our health and well-being involves attending to the needs of both our body and mind. Our physical and mental health interact to allow us to function on a daily basis, so it is important to always consider both. Mental illnesses span a wide range of conditions, symptoms, and experiences, each existing upon a spectrum. This means diagnoses can be difficult at times, so it is essential to be assessed by an experienced mental health care professional that can find the right path for you. 


Why should we talk about it?

One in every five US adults live with mental Illness, which makes up roughly 57.8 million people in the US in 2021 according to the National Institute on Mental Health. With mental illnesses impacting so many people in so many different stages of life, understanding and evaluating our mental health and its connection to our emotional, psychological, and social well-being is a vital part of caring for ourselves.

As with any health concerns, doing the adequate research to better understand treatment options can help you or a loved one make the best decisions for your health care needs. The quality of our mental health can also influence how we interact with others, how we make decisions, and how we handle stress, so it is important to care for our mental health at every stage of life. 

Signs, Symptoms & Conditions 
As with any health concerns, doing the adequate research to better understand your needs and treatment options can help you or your loved one make the best decisions for your health care needs.

How to Get Mental Health Help

View a list of types of mental health professions and the types of care they may be able to provide you.

Mental Health and Insurance

Visit this page to better understand how you can best use your health insurance coverage to manage your mental health needs, as well as low-cost and affordable alternatives for those who are uninsured.

Immediate Emergency Mental Health Help

In a mental health emergency, immediate help can be an essential, and even life-saving, part of recovery and treatment. If a mental health professional is not immediately available, seeking help through friends, family, and other community members can begin the process of getting the right mental health services you need.

If you or someone you know is in an emergency mental health situation and the situation is potentially life-threatening, you can:
  • Call 911
  • Call the free, confidential National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or Live Chat Online to speak with a national network of people in local crisis centers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Text to 838255
  • If you are a service member or veteran you can contact the confidential counselors through the Veteran Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or chat confidentially online at the Military Crisis Line Chat
  • Call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Referral helpline at 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727) for general mental health services and to find local treatment.
  • Emergency rooms are equipped to handle both physical and mental emergencies. Going into an ER with your mental health emergency can be another option for immediate help if you or someone you know is at risk of life-threatening harm.

If someone reaches out to you in an emergency mental health crisis, there are tips and techniques that can help you provide support to your loved one: