What is mental illness?

Mental illness occurs when your brain, just like any other organ in your body, such as the heart, or the kidney, is not working the way it should.

Mental illness affects everyone indirectly; through your friends, family and coworkers. By age 40, about half of the population in Canada will have or have had a mental illness.

Mental illness is a collection of disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety. Mental illness is usually the result of a combination of physical, environmental, and social factors.

Mental illness does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, regardless of your age, culture, religion, occupation, income or education.

Can I recover from mental illness?

Recovery is possible and it is a journey that looks different for everyone. It is important that you don’t think of recovery as “getting rid” of problems but moving forward and setting new, manageable goals in a way that is healthy for you.

Some conditions, like postpartum depression, are often short-term and after acute treatment, can be managed with lifestyle changes and being self-aware to seek help if you experience symptoms again later in your life. If you have a more complex condition like schizophrenia, you will need lifelong management with supports like medication and therapy.

How can I get help for my mental illness symptoms?

It is important that you take care of your mental health, just like you take care of your physical health. The earlier you get help when you experience symptoms of mental illness, the better outcome you will have.

There are different mental health and wellness professionals & programs that can help you improve and maintain your mental health.

If you are in crisis, go to your nearest emergency room or call 911 for an ambulance.

For More Information

  • ConnexOntario - is an information and referral service, focusing on mental health, addiction and problem gambling services in Ontario.
  • Fast Facts about Mental Illness - Information about mental illness. From the Canadian Mental Health Association.
  • Mental Illness & Addiction Index - Get informed with clear, reliable information about mental illness and addiction, including treatment and recovery. From the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
Last updated: June 18, 2021 4001308