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Mental Disorders: an Intro

Mental Health awareness has become much more common, and people from ages 18-25 from Irvine High School, Crean Lutheran High School, Irvine Valley College, and University of California Irvine have recently discussed their struggles with mental health. Mental health is affecting much more people than it has been in the past.

What is a mental disorder?

A mental disorder is a mental state where one is not able to perform “productive activities (work, school, caregiving), maintain healthy relationships,” and lose the “ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity” ( When one is suffering from a mental disorder, they are not able to perform daily activities, or they face trouble and distress in performing normal everyday activities. In addition, people facing mental disorders face “significant changes in thinking, emotion and/or behavior” (

One that is suffering from a mental disorder has difficulty adjusting to new environments, as well as maintaining the activities that they were already taking part in. In addition, those with a mental disorder can have difficulty with “relationships, personal and emotional well-being and contributing to community or society.”

What kinds of mental disorders are there?

Mental disorders can range from anxiety disorders, including panic disorder to specific phobias, to major depressive disorder to schizophrenia. However, among the most common are anxiety disorders, with statistics that show that “anxiety disorders affect 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 years old” ( In addition, anxiety disorders can, and oftentimes, co-exist with major depressive disorder.

While mental disorders do not have a specific known cause, it is known that there are certain factors that can increase one’s risk of suffering from a mental disorder. In order to lessen the possibility of mental health issues, it is crucial to maintain mental well-being, which includes “adopting healthy sleep patterns; taking regular exercise; developing coping, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills; and learning to manage emotions. Supportive environments in the family, at school and in the wider community are also important” (

If you or someone close to you is at risk of being a harm to themselves or others, call 911.

SAMSA’s (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders. 1-800-662-4357.

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