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Published: November 16, 2019
Understanding Mental Health Conditions

Smiling woman with dog

by Amber Carlton


Mental health conditions are often invisible disabilities. In other words, it can be difficult to know that someone has a mental Smiling woman with doghealth condition just by looking at them. Many of us may not think of this type of condition as a disability; yet, it can have a serious impact on how individuals live their daily lives.

Even if you haven’t personally experienced a mental health condition, you probably know somebody who has.

  • Each year in the U.S., one in five adults experiences a mental health condition.
  • Serious mental illness such as schizophrenia affects one in 17.
  • Approximately 75% of individuals with a mental health condition develop it by the age of 24.

So what is a mental health condition? Put simply, it is one that affects a person’s mood, thinking, and behavior. There are many different types, ranging from mild to severe, including:

  • Alcohol and substance addiction
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Schizophrenia

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a mental health condition as a disability if it limits one or more major life activities. As such, many mental health conditions are protected under the ADA, as well as a number of other federal laws.

The Independence Center offers a variety of resources, information, and support – including assistance with housing, employment, disability benefits, and peer support – to help those with mental health conditions live more independently.


To learn more, visit our Center for Independent Living page or give us a call at 719-471-8181.

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