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What does it mean to have a mental health problem?

For many of us it's scary to admit we have depression or anxiety. But in reality mental health problems are so common that it's really just a normal part of life. Some studies suggest EVERYONE is going to have depression, or anxiety, at some point in their life.

Misconceptions about mental illness suggest it means you have a chemical imbalance, "bad genes" or are somehow "weak". In fact, what causes mental illness is still very much a matter of debate, and the "chemical imbalance" and "bad genes" theories are just that, theories.

There is a also lot of evidence that mental illness is caused by life experience. It's no coincidence that people with persistent mental illness have usually had very stressful and traumatic lives. Just as exposure to germs leaves us vulnerable to sickness, so are adversity and trauma associated with being mentally unwell.

If you feel sad, tired, fearful, or hopeless, chances are you've had a hard time. But if you put your hand up for help, chances are you're a brave person, not a weak one!

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