Understanding Mental Illness

Mental illness includes a range of specific conditions that cause serious disturbance in thoughts, feelings and perceptions severe enough to affect you or a loved one's day-to-day life. There are many different types of mental illness; each has its own specific pattern of symptoms.

Some common mental illnesses are schizophrenia, depression, bi-polar disorder and anxiety disorders. Symptoms of mental illness often occur in cycles. An episode can last from weeks to months with times when no symptoms are evident. With children, these changes may be even more frequent. People will also differ in how severe their symptoms are.  Mental illness, especially if left untreated, will affect their -  or their loved one’s - quality of life. It will also affect the people around them. 

Capital Health’s Addiction and Mental Health Program is taking major steps to improve care for individuals living with concurrent disorders.

Capital Heath's Mental Health Program recognizes the duty of care it has to patients and their families.  

The Community Living Initiative, more commonly known as the Bungalows, is being built on the grounds of The Nova Scotia Hospital site. Recently, an Extensive Green Roof has been installed.

The first of its kind in Nova Scotia, the goal of the court is to treat Nova Scotians with mental disorders, who commit criminal offences, fairly and compassionately, and to help them improve their mental health to reduce the risk to public safety.

Capital Health's Mental Health Program is reviewing and reorganizing how it delivers services to people in hospital, and how it provides support in the community.

In the eighth and final part of her journal, Debi writes about her progress, her hope for the future, and what she accomplished in the program.

In part 7, near the end of week five in the program, Debi is excited by the future and all the possibilities before her.

In part 6, Debi experiences a real shift and has a very good week.

In part 5, and at the half-way mark of the six-week program, Debi shares her feelings about the program and whether she can meet her goals.

In part 4, and at the end of another week, Debi struggles with feeling that she doesn't deserve to be happy.

In part 3, as the first week ends, Debi shares her goals for the program and her expectations about the coming weeks.

In part 2 of her journal entries, Debi shares her feelings as she begins the program and realizes the challenges that lie ahead for her.

Debi Noye recently completed the Mental Health Day Treatment Program, an intensive, six-week, group therapy program for adults with mental health problems. She chronicled her experience in a series of journal entries. Here, she describes her feelings about finally getting into the program.

On April 18, 2011, The Department of Health and Wellness announced that Capital Health Mental Health Program and the Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University, have opened a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the East Coast Forensic Hospital.

An Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) is an injury that has occurred or been acquired as a result of an event taking place after birth.

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Understanding Mental Health

Mental health (or well-being) is a balance of mental, physical, emotional, social and spiritual health. Caring relationships, a place to call home, a supportive community, and work and leisure all contribute to mental health. No one’s life is perfect; mental health is also about handling life’s ups and downs.

When you feel you don't have this balance, or you feel you can't handle life's challenges well, it can affect your mental health. These changes and challenges can get in the way of you enjoying your life.

You and your family will benefit from learning how to enhance and protect your mental health.