In this session, you will consider the complexity of mental illnesses and what it means to you and your partner, relative, or friend who is affected. We explain the emotional response processes that are involved in dealing with someone with a mental illness and how important it is to care for yourself and let go of assumptions and presuppositions. Finally…

What are the objectives of session 2?

  • To learn how mental illness develop
  • To appreciate the complexity of mental illness
  • To understand what it’s like to have a mental illness
  • To realize what emotional response processes are involved
  • To recognize the importance of self-care
  • To learn how to let go

How does mental illness develop?

A combination of many factors influences our mental health. This includes:

  1. Biological factors, e.g. genetics, brain chemistry, physical health, use of medications and substances such as alcohol or drugs, and sleep.
  2. Psychological factors, e.g. emotions, attitudes, learning, beliefs, and stress management.
  3. Social factors, e.g. family cohesion, peer influence, culture, socioeconomic status, and life experiences such as trauma, abuse, and neglect, especially during childhood.

Generally, inherited biological factors are difficult to change directly, but by positively influencing social and psychological factors, even those can be altered to a person’s benefit. As we will explain in more detail in the next session, thoughts and feelings are vital to the positive functioning of humans. These are again strongly influenced by a sense of support and acceptance from others. By improving thoughts and feelings, positive behavior and attitude changes are inevitable!

In the next section, we consider the typical symptoms and concept of comorbidity of mental illness.