Mental illness or Psychological Disorders


The mental illness or psychological disorders is a global health concern affecting millions of people across the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately one third of world population is found to be affected by mental health issues like anxiety disorder, moderate to major depression and schizophrenia (WHO, 2017). Mental health plays a significant role in general well-being. Moreover, mental illness can lead to self-harm or harm to others in a community. Mental illness is a health issue that poses a serious risk to community.

Description of Health Issue

Mental illness is a psychological disorder that is characterized by alteration in behavior, mood and judgment affecting individual capacity to function. The effects on mental health of an individual can give rise to symptoms of stress and cause cognitive impairment to worsen the physical health. The health related problem associated with mental illness are bipolar disorder, major depression, anxiety disorder, dementia, schizophrenia, personality disorder, etc. (Vigo et al., 2016).

According to the World Bank study, approximately 120 million people experiences depression and around 24 million people suffer from schizophrenia on a global scale by 2012 (Whiteford et al., 2013). According to the World Health Organization, bipolar disorder forms the major cause of mental health disorder in middle-income countries. WHO estimated that globally around 300 million suffer from depression, 60 million form bipolar, 47.5 million from dementia and around 21 million from schizophrenia (WHO, 2017). According to Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, one in five persons suffers from mental disorder in Canada. The age group of 15 to 24 is highly experiencing the metal disorder and related substance use in Canada. The women are having more common mental health disorder than men for anxiety disorders and depression while men have more common addition (substance use) problems (CAMH, 2012).

Mental illness and related mental health problems have an impact on the community population. The person experiencing mental disorder may harm to the other person and pose to be a risk to the overall community under risk factors like substance use or alcohol. The development of the negative attitude and belief in people with psychological disorder are likely to become violent. Such behavioral patterns results in exclusions from social gathering, daily activities, and suffers discrimination in community (Happell et al, 2012). The communities can prosper with good mental health of its members. Mental illness in community have a negative impact on the education and intellectual level, loss of employment opportunity, low economic growth and leading to poverty and further deteriorated health and mental condition due to non-affordability of adequate treatment, medication, counselling, therapy, etc. this has a negative influence on the local economy (Rogers and Pilgrim, 2014).

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the financial cost of mental health care rose above $57.5B since 2006 as a direct cost (LaVeist et al., 2011). The indirect cost is associated with choric disability in early phase of life which will become an economic burden in mental illness arises from loss of economic opportunity/income generation due to unemployment and inability to meet expenses for social support.

The mental health issue is affecting at both individual and community level. The person experiencing mental health issue has effects on its physical, social life, occupational, financial, emotional and cognitive aspects. The individuals under mental illness suffer decrease quality of life, social problems, less likely to receive education or employment resulting in economic difficulties and poverty. The sufferers have increased vulnerability for substance use and alcohol leading to additional health problems. The social effects include withdrawal from family members, relatives and friends which results in social isolation and loneliness (Taylor, 2011). It also leads to low self-confidence, low self-esteem and anxiety. The social effects can also be seen in loss of interest in life and low performance of daily living activities which can affect thinking towards self-harm or suicidal tendency causing emotional effects. Moreover, this can also affect person cognitive functioning in terms of causing poor concentration, inability to recall and process information and decline in memory (Stone et al., 2015). It also causes sinking mood, sad thoughts and decline in capacity to think or judge. Another implication is on financial aspects which makes the person inability to take financial planning, decisions and manage finances make the person lose its self empowerment (LaVeist et al., 2011).

Selection and Analysis of Programs/Services

Some programs/services in the community that positively affect the mental illness health issue are:

Canadian Mental Health Association: The services of this organisation focus to decrease the stigma of mental illness and to raise awareness about the obstacles faced by people to get treatment. The services target general population who seeks treatment for mental illness in Canada. The services have a positive effect on the mental health problems as it educates the community and provide individual culture relevant counselling and prevent from social isolation (Yatham et al., 2013). The limitation is that it is not quite successful in reaching remote arctic communities to provide adequate mental health services.

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH): The organisation is based in Canada which provides mental health care services, rehabilitation services, addition teaching, health promotion, and has a research centre to study mental health and addiction (CAMH, 2012). It target all the general population affected by mental illness issue and related addiction. The organisation is transforming the lives of people suffering from mental illness to lead an independent life and putting continuous efforts to develop a healthier community.

Connex Ontario: These community support services are designed to provide free and confidential information regarding health services and mental health problems for Ontario regions. The services target people that are suffering with mental illness and engaged in substance use, drug addiction and alcohol addiction and gambling (Ratnasingham et al., 2013). The services are funded by the government of Ontario.

The Future of the Health Issue

In many countries there is a major gap in provision of treatment of mental health issues, lack of heath promotions and funding for mental health services and accessibility in metal health services for remote regions in low and middle income countries. Moreover, factor such as stigma of mental illness (Shen et al., 2014), financial burden of direct and indirect cost is likely to contribute for the continued existence of the mental health issue globally. The mental illness issue is an ongoing concern for the communities. The Anxiety Disorders Association of Canada estimated that that around 25 percent of Canadian population will have prevalence of depression and anxiety disorder in lifetime (Yatham et al., 2013). There is a need to increase the resources and reduce the mental illness stigma to improve metal health problems. Therefore, the increase in funding for mental health services and awareness to reduce the mental illness stigma, supportive community are some factors that can positively impact to reduce the impact of mental illness in community.


Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). (2012). Mental Illness and Addictions: Facts and Statistics. Retrieved from:

Happell, B., Davies, C., & Scott, D. (2012). Health behaviour interventions to improve physical health in individuals diagnosed with a mental illness: A systematic review. International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 21(3), 236-247.

LaVeist, T. A., Gaskin, D., & Richard, P. (2011). Estimating the economic burden of racial health inequalities in the United States. International Journal of Health Services, 41(2), 231-238.

Ratnasingham, S., Cairney, J., Manson, H., Rehm, J., Lin, E., & Kurdyak, P. (2013). The burden of mental illness and addiction in Ontario. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 58(9), 529-537.

Rogers, A., & Pilgrim, D. (2014). A sociology of mental health and illness. UK: McGraw-Hill Education.

Shen, Y., Dong, H., Fan, X., Zhang, Z., Li, L., Lv, H., & Guo, X. (2014). What Can the Medical Education Do for Eliminating Stigma and Discrimination Associated with Mental Illness among Future Doctors? Effect of Clerkship Training on Chinese Students’ Attitudes. The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 47(3), 241-254.

Stone, J., Pal, S., Blackburn, D., Reuber, M., Thekkumpurath, P., & Carson, A. (2015). Functional (psychogenic) cognitive disorders: a perspective from the neurology clinic. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 48(s1), S5-S17.

Taylor, S. E. (2011). Social support: A review. The handbook of health psychology, 189, 214.

Vigo, D., Thornicroft, G., & Atun, R. (2016). Estimating the true global burden of mental illness. The Lancet Psychiatry, 3(2), 171-178.

Whiteford, H. A., Degenhardt, L., Rehm, J., Baxter, A. J., Ferrari, A. J., Erskine, H. E., & Burstein, R. (2013). Global burden of disease attributable to mental and substance use disorders: findings from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. The Lancet, 382(9904), 1575-1586.

World Health Organization (WHO). (2017). Mental disorders. Retrieved from:

Yatham, L. N., Kennedy, S. H., Parikh, S. V., Schaffer, A., Beaulieu, S., Alda, M., & Ravindran, A. (2013). Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT) and International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD) collaborative update of CANMAT guidelines for the management of patients with bipolar disorder: update 2013. Bipolar disorders, 15(1), 1-44.

Leave a Comment