Mental health is important. Learn about mental health conditions and their signs. Find information for immigrants. Understanding mental health can make sure you and your loved ones get the help you need.
What is mental health?
Mental health is about your feelings, how you think, and how you act. It is an important part of your overall health. It can even affect your physical health. Good mental health helps you deal with daily life, make good choices, and handle stress.
Many factors can affect your mental health:
- Family history
- Biological factors
- Chemical imbalances
- Alcohol and drugs
- Medical conditions
- Life experiences
- Trauma or abuse
- Loneliness or isolation
Immigrant mental health
Immigrants often face unique challenges that can affect their mental health. Many have left their homes and families behind due to violence or hard situations. Adjusting to life in the United States can also be tough and lonely at times.
How people in the USA think about and deal with mental health could be different from what you are used to in your home country. It is normal to have mental health problems at some point in your life. You do not need to be embarrassed or ashamed to talk about your mental health and ask for help.
Mental health conditions
A mental illness or disorder is considered a health condition. It makes it hard to do everyday things like going to school, working, and spending time with friends or family. Mental health problems can be mild or severe and change over time.
Many people in the USA have mental health conditions. About 1 in 5 adults experience it at some point in their lives.
Symptoms of mental health problems can include:
- Feeling sad or numb or hopeless
- Feeling scared, worried, or angry
- Loss of interest in social activities
- Unable to perform daily tasks
- Having little or no energy
- Eating too much or too little
- Weight changes
- Trouble concentrating
- Thoughts of self-harm
It is normal to experience some of these symptoms from time to time. It becomes more serious when they continue to happen for a long time and you do not feel better.
Common mental health conditions
Here is a list of well-known mental health conditions. Conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are less common.
Everyone feels anxious sometimes, but anxiety becomes a disorder when it happens almost all the time. Anxiety disorders happen when someone has constant anxiety or dread for months and years.
Many people may experience mild depression. Mild depression is when someone feels sad or does not feel like doing anything. Major depression lasts for more than two weeks. Learn more about depression.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is also called PTSD. It is a natural emotional response to a terrible, shocking, or stressful event. Learn more about immigrant and refugee trauma.
Adjustment disorder is when someone has a hard time coping after a stressful change or event. Some refugees and immigrants experience culture shock after moving to a new country. Learn more about culture shock.
Substance use disorder
Substance abuse disorder is when someone is unable to control their use of alcohol, drugs, and medications.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is also called OCD. It happens when someone has repetitive unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and actions (compulsions).
Eating disorders happen when someone has serious problems with eating because of their attitude toward food, eating, and body shape. They may eat too much or too little and go through extreme weight changes.
Bipolar disorder is when someone has unusual changes in their mood and energy. People may have extremely up (or manic) or very down (depressive) episodes.
Schizophrenia is rare and affects how a person thinks and sees the world. People with schizophrenia might believe things that aren’t real, see or hear things that aren’t there, and have a hard time thinking clearly.
Do you want to learn more about these and other mental health conditions?
Watch these videos for more information.
It is important to talk to someone if you feel like you have a mental health problem. It is okay to reach out for help when you are struggling. There is no shame in getting support. Talking about how you feel is a brave step towards feeling better.
You can start by talking to a trusted family member or friend. Share how you are feeling and what type of support you need.
If your symptoms are not getting better, or you are feeling worse, it is important to seek professional help:
★ Visit our page on how to find mental health resources for immigrants.
★ If you are in emotional distress or have thoughts of harming yourself, call or text 988 to talk to a trained crisis worker.
★ If you are in immediate danger, call 911 for emergency assistance.
Mental health providers can help you get treatment such as therapy and medication. Anyone, regardless of their immigration status, can get help.
The information on this page comes from NAMI and other trusted sources. We aim to offer easy to understand information that is updated regularly. This information is not legal advice.