According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

Treatments are available, but nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional. Stigma, discrimination, and neglect prevent care and treatment from reaching people with mental disorders, says the World Health Organization (WHO). Where there is neglect, there is little or no understanding. Where there is no understanding, there is neglect.

“Mental illness is not a personal failure. In fact, if there is a failure, it is to be found in the way we have responded to people with mental and brain disorders,” said Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, the past Director-General of WHO, on releasing the World Health Report. “I hope this report will dispel long-held doubts and dogma and mark the beginning of a new public health era in the field of mental health,” she added.

 Every year, about 42.5 million American adults (or 18.2 percent of the total adult population in the United States) suffers from some mental illness, enduring conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, statistics released Friday reveal.

The data, compiled by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), also indicate that approximately 9.3 million adults, or about 4 percent of those Americans ages 18 and up, experience “serious mental illness” – that is, their condition impedes day-to-day activities, such as going to work.

This data does not diverge greatly from the last SAMHSA report, released in 2012, which found that 45.9 million American adults, 20 percent of this demographic, experienced mental illness at least once annually. (Though there is a 1.8 percent difference, the statistics do have margins of error, and methods of compiling them are often revised, so this dip does not necessarily mean there has been a long-term decline in mental illness.)

Dr. Kazim has worked diligently and tirelessly to dispel the stigmata associated with mental illness.  To him, and several other competent mental health professionals, mental illness is just a condition.  A condition just like high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and other medical disorders.  This is no cause for embarrassment or feeling less about oneself.  It needs to be treated just like any other condition.

Dr. Kazim is very concerned about individuals who do not seek professional help when suffering from mental illness.  Left untreated, mental health disorders can significantly worsen and lead to a long and protracted course. He does not believe that seeking professional help is a sign of weakness.  Rather it is a condition that needs to be treated by a professional when an individual’s personal strengths are unable to cope with mental illness or stress.

If you are an individual who has noticed a decline in your social, occupational and other important areas of functioning then Dr. Kazim would need to would like to hear from you.  If you are struggling to stay happy, enjoy life and your relationships are being adversely affected, it is time to seek professional help.