What is a mental illness?
Everybody gets sick sometimes. When you have a sore throat, you might take medicine and sleep a lot. If you have a broken arm, you get a cast. Even teachers and parents get sick, and have to take medicine and rest to get better.
Just like physical illness, people can experience a mental illness anytime. You may hear people describe mental illness as a mental disorder, neurological disorder or a mental health challenge. Having a mental illness can change how you think, feel or act. It can sometimes make it harder to do the things you want to do. Just like when your body is sick and you go to a doctor, someone with a mental illness can go to a mental health professional.
Some people act in ways that are hard to understand, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have a mental illness. Actions like being violent, getting mad, smoking or doing drugs are not mental illnesses. These are choices people make. People don’t choose to have a mental illness, but they can choose to admit if they’re having a hard time. That way, they can get help and start feeling better.