What is Mental Illness?

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Dec 27, 2021

What is mental illness?

The state of our mental health impacts every stage of our lives, from childhood and adolescence all the way through to adulthood. Any condition that affects this degree of “health” or influences the way we handle stress, make decisions, relate to others or engage with our environment, could be caused by a mental illness. This quote sums it up neatly; “There’s a crack in everything. "That’s how the light gets in"

At Peer Collective, we’re firm believers that a “crack” doesn’t mean you’re broken or flawed. Far from it! As the quote goes to say, it means that you’ve been put to the test and in spite of whatever you’ve endured, you didn’t fall apart. We’re here to help you understand a bit more about mental illness and assure you that you can reach out for help to you take care of your state of well-being.

What causes a mental disorder?

  • Genetics or biological factors which affect our brain chemistry
  • Societal or environmental factors like childhood trauma, abuse, neglect or other events that cause lasting psychological effects
  • Behavioural factors like eating, sleeping or exercise (whether too much, or too little)
  • Habitual dependencies like over-reliance on drugs, alcohol or other substances
  • Experiences stemming from ongoing chronic medical conditions resulting in unusually difficult circumstances, suffering or stress

What does mental illness look like?

Just by looking at the causes we listed above, it’s clear to see that mental illness is a broad term. Under this umbrella term, are various types of specific illnesses and related conditions, ranging from anxiety to eating or mood disorders to depression and PTSD. All “look” different, affect us differently and may even have different timelines of when they show up or how long they last. Here’s something we found that’s a good reminder that the tells of mental health aren’t always easy to spot or able to be defined, take a look:

You can sound confident and still have anxiety. You can look healthy but still feel like sh*t You can look happy and still feel miserable inside You can be good looking but still feel ugly So be kind, because every person is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

See, it’s not always hyperventilation, rocking back and forth or reclusive, antisocial behaviour. A lot of the struggles of mental illness are internal. This is why mental health is so often overlooked. But it shouldn’t be. That bit up there about being kind, applies to you too. Being kind to yourself is self-compassion, and it’s one of the most important starting points on a journey to treating whatever mental illness or disorder you may be struggling with.

Mental wellness counseling: “At the intersection of a trusted friend & a traditional therapist”

That’s how we describe our Peer Collective counselors. Here are the 4 steps you can take to get talking to one of them online: Step 1: Answer 6 questions about yourself, how you’re feeling and the style of support you think would be the most helpful. Step 2: Tell us your ideal times of availability to talk to a Peer Counselor so you can schedule your sessions on your terms. Step 3: We use your answers to match you to Peer Counselors who meet your needs and you get to read a bit more about each of them to select exactly who you want to chat. Step 4: The Peer Counselor you’ve chosen to connect with will call you at the arranged time for 30 or 60 minutes.

Next in articles

Dec 23, 2021

Why is Mental Health So Overlooked?

Why is Mental Health So Overlooked?

Our state of well-being affects how we act, think and feel, so why is it that our mental health is also so often overlooked?


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