Mental Health or Mental Illness - There is a Difference
New book of compiled blog posts by a psychiatrist and an advocate that differentiates between two terms commonly interchanged that are, in fact, different.
We began this blog in October 2014 in order to provide commentary on the state of mental illness and its treatment for the lay public. What we provide is a viewpoint from that of a psychiatrist with many years of experience (David Laing Dawson) and a family member of someone who does have schizophrenia (Marvin Ross). Aside from his personal experience (or lived experience as it is commonly referred to), he is also a medical writer, advocate and publisher of books that take a unique look at mental illness.
To date, we have had close to 75,000 views and have been read in 151 different countries. We focus mainly on mental illness covering topics like recovery, treatments, suicide, addictions, and alternative treatments (or pseudo science).
Mental illness as a medical condition that disrupts a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder.
In contrast, mental health as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. That is quite different from mental illness.
Unfortunately there is a tendency to confuse these and many organizations including governments and health policy planners have a tendency to talk about mental health issues and problems which are not the same as mental illnesses. As a result, services for those with mental illness (more severe and more life altering) are often deficient as people focus on mental health (often referred to problems of the worried well).
The usual concept of treating those with more serious illnesses does not apply with the result that many of the serious mentally ill are left to fend for themselves under treated, under serviced, a burden to frustrated families and often homeless or in jail.
Mind You The Realities of Mental Illness, ISBN 978-1-927637-