Mental Health, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), is a state of well-being in which people realize their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and are able to make contributions to their communities. Mental health is essential to people’s well-being, healthy family and inter-personal relationships, and the ability to live full and productive lives – it is what allows people to function as good friends and supportive family members, and as productive employees and engaged citizens. In short, mental health is a characteristic that all humans share – and optimizing mental health is what everyone should hope to achieve.

Mental Illnesses are health conditions that impair mental health and are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, and/or behavior associated with distress and/or impaired functioning. Mental illnesses often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. The severity of mental health issues spans a broad spectrum. Some people experience only temporary symptoms that are not diagnosable mental illnesses, while others have comparatively mild mental disorders that can be easily treated and they go on to lead relatively productive lives. On the other end of the spectrum, severe and persistent mental illnesses can be debilitating and lead to difficult consequences in people’s lives.

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