Mental health is a broad term that refers to an individual's emotional well-being. Conditions that impact an individual's mental health are treatable and recovery is possible.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Good mental health is an essential component of overall health.
Make a commitment during the month of May (and throughout the year) to recognize the risk factors and signs of mental illness, understand what mental illness is and isn't, and how to get help when needed.
Talk about feelings with family and friends. Offer to be there for loved ones who are struggling and simply listen. See the person and not the mental illness. These actions build support for people living with a mental illness and encourage health-seeking action.
Many people experience a mental health challenge
The term mental illness refers to many different types of mental health challenges. A mental illness is a condition that disrupts a person's thoughts, feelings, social skills, and/or daily living.
Mental illnesses impact thousands of Wisconsin residents each year. (Wisconsin Behavioral Health Barometer, 2015 (PDF, 1.7 MB)) People often ask why. While researchers have long studied the causes of mental illnesses, there is no clear evidence that shows why some people are affected and others are not. However, mentalhealth.gov lists many factors that contribute to mental illnesses, including:
- Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
- Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
- Family history of mental health problems
Signs and symptoms
Like a physical health condition, recognizing and seeking treatment for a mental health condition at the onset of the signs and symptoms leads to more positive outcomes. Mentalhealth.gov has a list of feelings and behaviors that may be an early indication of a mental health condition. These feelings and behaviors include:
- Eating or sleeping too much or too little
- Avoiding people and usual activities
- Having low or no energy
- Feeling numb or like nothing matters
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
- Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
- Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
- Thinking of harming yourself or others
It's important to talk about your emotional and social well-being with your primary care doctor, another health professional, or other trusted resource in your community.
Types of mental illnesses
Mental illnesses include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Conduct disorders
- Eating disorders
- Mood disorders
- Personality disorders
- Psychotic disorders
Treatment works and recovery is possible
Wisconsin has long supported people living with a mental illness to manage their symptoms and experience the life they envisioned. The Division of Care and Treatment Services is responsible for allocating state and federal funding for mental health services, in addition to high-level planning, management, and oversight of these services in the state. Wisconsin offers a range of services from intensive inpatient hospitalization to less intensive outpatient care, backed by supportive programs to help individuals live and work more independently in their community. Learn more about mental health care and coverage in Wisconsin.
Community Programs and Services
Community-based programs are at the core of the Wisconsin mental health care system. Learn about major community-based initiatives managed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
- Child and Adolescent Day Treatment - Children
- Coordinated Services Teams (CST) Initiatives - Children
- Comprehensive Community Services (CCS) - Children and Adults
- Community Support Programs (CSP) - Adults
- Community Recovery Services (CRS) - Adults
- Peer Run Respites - Adults
- Supported Employment or Individual Placement and Support (IPS) - Adults
- Veterans Outreach and Recovery Program (VORP) - Adults
Please use this online search tool managed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to find community-based treatment providers.
Inpatient Programs and Services
Some people living with a mental illness need intensive treatment and care in order to better manage their symptoms. Learn more about inpatient programs and services managed by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Please use this online search tool managed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to locate local inpatient programs or services.
Wisconsin Council on Mental Health
The Wisconsin Council on Mental Health was created to advise the Governor, the Legislature, and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services on the allocation of federal funding for mental health services. Meetings are held bi-monthly and are open to the public. In 2017, meetings are scheduled on January 18, March 15, May 17, July 19, September 12 and 13, and November 15. At least 50 percent of the members are consumers and/or family members. Other members represent state agencies, mental health providers, and other organizations or groups.