About Mental Health Disorders

PLACES cares for adults diagnosed with mental health disorders, including the homeless. Here is some background on mental illnesses, medications and the Recovery Model, serious mental illnesses, and mental illnesses and homelessness, plus resources on mental health and resources on homelessness.

What Are Mental Illnesses?

Mental illnesses are disorders of the brain’s chemistry that distort how some people perceive their world. A mental illness affects how a person behaves, thinks and feels about the things around and within him or her.

Mental illnesses are medical conditions that have genetic components, environmental components and experiential components. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in four adults – approximately 61.5 million Americans – experiences mental illness in a given year. One in 17 – about 13.6 million Americans – lives with a serious mental illness such as major depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Medications and the Recovery Model

Medications have become the most effective method of reducing the symptoms of mental illnesses. However, medication alone does not solve every issue. And medication often does not help a person with mental illness integrate into the community. Mental health agencies have recognized this and have adopted the Recovery Model to ensure that each person is treated in a holistic manner and achieves the most rewarding quality of life.

PLACES is proud of its commitment to the Recovery Model, which goes beyond symptom management to deal with the whole person. It encompasses:

  • Building self-respect
  • Maintaining physical health
  • Fostering social contacts and relationships
  • Encouraging each person to define a purpose for his or her life
  • Having safe, affordable and stable housing

The Recovery Model stresses abilities and potential – not disabilities and stagnation.