November 16, 2019

Understanding Mental Health Conditions

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.