Common mental health conditions and how to recognize them

Our mental health is so important at every stage of life, and there's a wide range of conditions that affect the way we think, feel and act.

Nicole Milton with Mental Health America of Greater Houston says she too experienced trauma when her mother had a health scare and needed to be hospitalized.

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"It was like my brain was scattered. I didn't know what to do or what to think," Milton said.

At the time, Milton wasn't sure how she would get through it, but says she ultimately relied on her community and family.

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Here's a look at some common mental health conditions. Click through the gallery to learn about the conditions and their characteristics.

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As a training manager, Milton provides awareness, education and resources for mental health issues throughout the Houston area.

She says trauma is among some of the most common mental health conditions, along with depression and anxiety. All three make up 30% of diagnoses of mental illness in America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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The agency estimates about 1 in every 5 Americans is currently living with a mental illness, which is more than 50 million people.

"We all get anxiety, but when we start to notice that it's impacting our daily life, like our thoughts are racing all the time, we're not able to do our daily life functions, that's when we know we're leaning into maybe this is more of anxiety disorder. Depression, usually that's when you see people start to work in isolation. I'm not participating in any activities, or things that I used to do," Milton said.

High functioning mental illness is also hard to detect, which is why recognizing the symptoms is very important.

Milton says to pay attention to their sleep patterns to see if they're sluggish or constantly needing coffee or perhaps irritable and snappy.


She says race, gender and ethnicity may also play a role in someone's mental health.

"We're seeing the largest number of people that are diagnosed are white men. They also are the largest part of the population, but we're seeing a rise in our Black and brown youth are having more suicidal ideation, experiencing anxiety and depression at higher rates," Milton said.

However, with the right treatment, people can overcome their challenges.

"If you're starting to kind of be concerned about your mental health, the sooner you address it, the better, so that you have the tools to, you know, help yourself get back on the right track," Milton said.

Overall, experts say the best thing to do is find outlets that are helpful for you, whether that's therapy, journaling or talking to a trusted friend or family member.

To see a list of resources for help, click here.