Mental Health Information and Stigma

What is Mental Health?

A state of wellbeing in which the individual realizes his/her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to his/her community.

What is Mental Wellness

An internal resource that helps us think, feel, connect, and function; it is an active process that helps us to build resilience, grow, and flourish.

Importance of Mental Wellness

A stronger ability to cope with life’s stressors, a positive self-image, healthier relationships, better productivity, and higher quality of life.

Mental Health Concerns

Anything that causes a person to believe their mental health may be suffering; could b a symptom, a group of symptoms, or a diagnosable mental health condition.

Mental Health Condition

A set of related symptoms that have been recognized by the mental health community; includes conditions defined in the DSM-V, ICD-11, and by people with lived experience.

Substance Use Disorder (SUD)

Recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs cause clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home.

Lived Experience 

First hand, personal, experience dealing with a mental health or substance use challenge.


Stigma – negative, judgmental, and/or discriminatory attitudes toward mental health challenges and those who live with them
Self-stigma – negative attitudes and shame regarding an individual’s own mental health, resulting from internalizing public stigma

Ways to Stop the Stigma

  • Talk openly about mental health
  • Educate yourself and others
  • Be conscious of language 
  • Encourage equality between physical and mental wellness
  • Show compassion for those with mental challenges
  • Choose empowerment over shame 
  • Increase awareness
  • Acceptance of others
  • Spreading the word
  • Be honest about treatment 
  • Don’t harbor self-stigma
  • Take the StigmaFree Pledge

Normalizing Mental Health: Terms to Know & Statistics

Terms to Know 

Stress – a feeling of emotional or physical tension in response to being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental/emotional pressure

Trauma – an emotional response to a disturbing, scary, or shocking experience that overwhelms an individual’s ability to cope

Therapist – a mental health professional trained to help individuals understand and cope with their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors; may assess and/or diagnose mental health conditions

Psychiatrist – a licensed medical doctor who has completed additional psychiatric training; can diagnose mental health conditions, prescribe and manage medication, and provide therapy 

Recovery – a process of change through which individual’s improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential 

Social Determinants of Health – the conditions in which people live, learn, work, and play that impact their health and quality of life

Statistics & Information

  • 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, however, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their health
  • About half of Americans will meet criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life, with symptoms starting by age 24 for majority of people
  • The average delay between symptom onset and mental health treatment is 11 years, meaning a lot of people spend months or years facing mental health challenges before getting a diagnosis 
  • Delays in treatment for mental health conditions are longer than for many other health conditions
  • It is never too early to seek treatment for your mental health and intervening in the early stages can save lives and is critically important for people living with mental health conditions
  • Approximately 6.5 million people in the US have an intellectual disability
  • Approximately 1-3% of the global population has an intellectual disability (approximately 200 million worldwide)
  • IDD is significantly more common in low-income countries – 16.41 in every 1,000 people

Mental Health America (MHA) Screenings

Take a Mental Health Test! Online screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. 

  • General website
  • Depression
    • Feeling down, depressed, hopeless, poor appetite/overeating, tired/little energy, etc.
  • Anxiety
    • Feeling nervous, anxious, worry too much, restless, feeling annoyed/irritable, etc.
  • Psychosis
    • Feeling familiar surroundings be strange/unreal, hearing unusual noises, feeling not in control, etc.
  • Addiction
    • Feeling need to cut down on alcohol/drugs, feeling bad/guilty about use, annoyed about criticism over use

Online screening tools are meant to be a quick snapshot of your mental health. If your results indicate you may be experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, consider sharing your results with someone. A mental health provider (such as a doctor or a therapist) can give you a full assessment and talk to you about options for how to feel better.

“Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.” — Joubert Botha