Mental illness is many things. Like physical illness, mental illness can affect anyone and has many forms. The first important point to see is that mental illness is not just one illness but is many illnesses.
It will help you to think about it in this way. There is the part of the young person that thinks and understands. You can call this part the child’s mind. There is the part that feels happy and sad, frightened and calm, angry and joyful. You can call this part the emotions. Also there is the part that does things and takes action based on what the youngster thinks and feels. You can call this part behavior.
What is mental illness? The child’s mind, emotions, and behavior normally work together as a team. When children become mentally ill, the three members of the team stop working together. They each start doing their thing and the child cannot get them to start working together again.
Some kinds of mental illness affect the mind the most. The youngster is unable to think clearly and understand things the way they really are. The world becomes a strange and confusing place for him.
Other kinds of mental illness affect emotions more and other kinds affect behavior more. Here is another important point. All types of mental illness affect the child’s mind, emotions, and behavior to some extent and in some way. When this happens, the young person finds it very hard to keep the three members of the team under control and working together. Keep this problem of teamwork in mind as you think about these signs of mental illness.