Contributor Article by Jackie Lance, Community Support Facilitator (CSF) and Member of Hope Services’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee


What is Mental Illness?

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Let’s dive right in to “What is Mental Illness”?

Mental Illness is a physical illness of the brain (chemical imbalance) in your thinking, behavior, energy and emotions that make it difficult to cope with ordinary functions of life.

Research has shown that the complicated causes of mental illness often include genetics, brain chemistry, brain structure, experiencing trauma and/or having another medical condition similar to heart disease or diabetes.

What kinds of mental health conditions are there?

Anxiety Disorder: Researchers have found that more than 18% to 20% of adults each year struggle with some type of disorder.

Here are some disorders you have heard of: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Obsessive-Compulsive disorder (OCD), Panic disorder (Panic Attacks) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder/Phobias.

There are some illnesses that are not always genetically developed and may come to light later in life. These are called Mood Disorders.

Mood Disorders: Researchers have found that a large percentage of adult developing mood disorders are due to the stress of life and being over worked.  People may need a positive outlet or a therapist to learn skills of coping with and understanding what we can or cannot control.

These mood disorders may be classified as Depression or Bipolar depression. Nearly 10% of adults each year experience difficulties in regulating one’s mood, and that number is steadily rising.

What can we do?

It is important for us to understand the signs of mental illness within ourselves and to seek help so we stay our “best” mentally and physically. It is also important for us to be aware of those in our close community who may be struggling, and to offer support if needed.

Since Covid-19, there have been many cases of suicide and unemployment due to not seeking the help that is critically needed and taking the steps to care for one’s health.

Mental Illness is REAL and not something to let go unnoticed or untreated. If you, or someone you know may need help, use the resources below. We as people need to make changes in how we treat each other, help each other and be positive support for each other (Family, Friends and Co-Workers).


  • National Institution of Mental Illness
  • Mentel Health America
  • Human Resources