Lifeskills Mental Health Blog

Diagnosing Mental Health: How Are Mental Illnesses Diagnosed?

Woman sitting on a couch as a psychologist takes notes.

Diagnosing Mental Health: How Are Mental Illnesses Diagnosed?

The rise of social media over the last decade has done wonders to bring people together over common struggles. Individuals who may have never met someone with similar difficulties can easily find online communities of people who understand exactly what they are going through.

However, with the expansion of mental health awareness online comes an increase in self-diagnosis. People can see individuals who deal with symptoms similar to theirs and try to determine whether they have the same mental health condition. Unfortunately, this self-diagnosis trend makes it difficult for clinicians when they diagnose mental health.

How do mental health professionals make decisions regarding a mental illness diagnosis? And if you’re concerned about your mental health, what is the best way to find the help you need?

What is Mental Illness?

Mental illness is a general term that refers to psychological health conditions that negatively impact emotion, thinking, or behavior. These conditions cause distress in interpersonal relationships, at work or school, or in daily life. It’s easy to feel isolated by mental illness, but it is an incredibly common experience.1 According to research and studies:

  • Almost 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. (19%) experience mental illness
  • 1% of adults experience serious mental illness
  • 5% of adults have a substance use disorder

Thankfully, mental illness is typically treatable with the right resources and intervention. It starts with receiving a professional mental illness diagnosis.

Mental Illness Diagnosis

Diagnosing mental health is more involved than simply checking the boxes on a list of symptoms. Mental illness diagnosis isn’t always a straightforward process. Sometimes symptoms are short-lived in response to troubling life experiences. Other times physical conditions cause symptoms that mimic the signs of a mental illness.

Receiving the right diagnosis is crucial for individuals who hope to overcome or learn to live with their condition. That often means a full physical and psychological health evaluation. What are the first steps to take if you’re wondering whether you may be experiencing mental illness?

Finding Treatment and Help For Mental Illness

If you are concerned about the possibility of mental illness, you should start by seeking professional help for mental health. Clinicians have years of education and experience in diagnosing mental health and will offer the best insight and understanding of your condition.

Not all mental health diagnoses require ongoing treatment. Some people benefit from short-term outpatient programs where they learn the necessary tools and skills for lasting relief. Others with more intensive conditions require more intensive treatment methods. Finding the right treatment approach for you begins with finding the right mental illness diagnosis.

Are you wondering whether your symptoms are indicative of a mental health disorder? Start by reaching out to a treatment program like Lifeskills South Florida. We can help you identify your concerns and determine whether mental health treatment is the right approach for you.

Call us at 954-953-1742 or submit an online contact form, and someone from our admissions team will answer your questions and walk you through each step of the process. You should never have to manage your mental health alone – Lifeskills South Florida is here to help.




  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2022). What is Mental Illness?.




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