Lifestyle Plus Center Blog

Worth-reading blog posts about living life healthily in terms of managing life as an individual or a parent. Included here are tips about positive parenting.

How to Identify Mental Illness

Mary Johnson - Monday, April 11, 2016




The sad truth is that Mental illness in today’s society is becoming more and more prevalent.  Lack of knowledge and understanding the different types and degrees of severity adds to the problem. 

Case Study:  “Susan is a 19 year old girl who at the age of 12 became very unstable and started to display erratic behavior.  Her mother, Helen, was beside herself not knowing what to do or where to turn. Like most parents Helen pushed things under the table, believing that Susan was just going through a phase.  However by the time Susan was 15 she started to become violent and self-harm.  Police became involved and so did the Authorities and the family went through a very tough time.  After evaluation Susan was diagnosed as suffering Mental Illness.”


The question beckoning to be asked is: “What caused Susan’s erratic behavior and could her mother have done anything to prevent Susan’s behavior from escalating to the point of to self-harming?”

Unfortunately, there is no straight forward answer to these questions.  However what we can take away from this case study, is that knowledge is everything and the best we can do is to equip ourselves with as much knowledge about Mental Illness as we can, so that in the event that one of our friends or loved ones, or ourselves for that matter display symptoms we are better equipped to identify them and seek the necessary help.

So let’s define in broad terms:


  • What is mental illness?
  • What causes mental illness?
  • Myths –v- Facts
  • Symptoms of Mental illness
  • Strategies you can use to help someone going through a Mental Health Crisis“


A mental illness is a health problem that significantly affects how a person thinks, behaves and interacts with other people. It is diagnosed according to standardized criteria.  It is reported that one in five Australians will suffer from a mental illness in any given year.

Whilst a mental health problem affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves it is to a lesser extent than a mental illness.

There are different types and degrees of severity of mental illness.  Some of the major types are:


      • Anxiety
  • depression
  • Schizophrenia                                                             
  • Bipolar mood disorder
  • Personal disorders
  • Eating disorders


These illnesses may also be referred to as a mental disorder, mental impairment or psychiatric disability.




Mental illness results from complex interactions between the mind, body and environment.  Factors which can contribute to mental illness are:


Long-term and acute stress
  • Biological factors such as genetics, chemistry and hormones
  • Use of alcohol, drugs and other substances.
  • Cognitive patterns such as constant negative thoughts and low self-esteem,
  • Social factors such as isolation, financial problems, family breakdown or violence.




  • Many believe that Mental illness affects a few people and is caused by a personal weakness.  The Fact is that Mental illness is common, it doesn’t discriminate and it affects people of all ages, educational and income levels and culture. 
  • Furthermore fact is that it can be caused by genetic, biological, social and environmental factors. It is important to recognize that when a person suffering mental illness seeks and accepts help it is a sign of strength.


  • It is believed that people with mental illness can never recover.  The fact is that with the right type of help and support, most people do recover and lead healthy, productive and satisfying lives.


  • Some believe that people with a mental illness can cure themselves by pulling themselves out of it.  The fact is that just like mental illness not being caused by personal weakness it cannot be cured by personal strength.


  • People with a mental illness are violent.  Fact is that people with a mental illness are more no more violent or dangerous than the rest of the community.  In fact people with a mental illness are more likely to harm themselves


Each type of mental illness has a different set of symptoms. For example, extreme dieting may be a sign that someone has an eating disorder. Hearing voices could be a sign of psychosis. An ongoing feeling of hopelessness after childbirth could be a sign of postnatal depression.


Drastic changes in a person’s thoughts, moods or behavior can be a sign that they have a mental illness. Changes can be sudden or come on gradually over a long period. A person who usually copes well with life may start to have trouble functioning at work or in normal activities due to a mental illness.

Here are some examples of the symptoms of mental illness:


  • Anxiety: excess worry or fears
  • Depression: persistent sad or low mood
  • Unusual or illogical thoughts
  • Unreasonable anger or irritability
  • Poor concentration
  • Hearing voices which no one else can perceive
  • Increased or decreased sleep
  • Low or increased appetite
  • Lack of motivation
  • Withdrawing from people
  • Drug use


The symptoms of mental illness can come and go throughout a person’s life.

Now that we have broadly defined what mental illness is, what causes it, the symptoms and some of the myths and facts around it, the question begging to be asked is what can be done to minimize the factors that cause mental illness? 

The simple answer is that these factors can be minimized by a strong and supportive community environment.


How to help someone going through a mental health crisis


During a mental health crisis a person may be:


  • Feeling suicidal
  • Having anxiety attacks
  • In an acute stress reaction
  • Out of touch with reality in a distressing psychotic state
General strategies you can use to help


  • Introduce yourself and explain why you are present.
  • Remain courteous and non-threatening, but be honest and direct.
  • Listen to the person in a non-judgmental way.
  • Avoid confrontation at all costs – be prepared to "agree to differ" with the person's perspective.
  • Clarify and address what the person sees as the major issues first (not what you, the helper, see as the major concerns).
  • Do not attempt to manhandle the person, except to prevent serious assault or suicide attempts.
  • Encourage / assist person to receive professional mental health help.
  • Finally, if the incident was traumatic for you, or you feel anxious or distressed, discuss these issues with a friend or a professional service.

Why do children from the same family turn out so often so differently from one another?

Fayek Azer - Friday, January 21, 2011
Why do some excel at school, show, show responsibility and respect and from up well adjusted loving human beings and yet their brother(s) or sister(s) may hate going to school, have learning problems, show no respect, are hostile, bully and display other problematic behaviour, and grow up indifferent to society?

These burning questions have haunted many parents for decades.  Many parents have said to me " I love them all the same way, and I treat them all the same way I just don't understand".  Some of these parents look for answers by justifying, lay blame on the child, themselves and others trying to alleviate their pain and anguish.

So what is the answer or answers to this question?

The truth is the answers are entwined in the intricacy of the way we parent the children.  We may parent the children the same wa7y, however what is often forgotten is that children are not all the same and they interpret our parenting differently.  It's for this reason that parents need to develop an acute sense of perception.  There are many resources available to help parents develop what they need to enjoy the rewards of parenting and we hope to introduce uou to many of the resources through the Lifestyle Plus Centre website.

To read more and know more about this and other topics go to and down this free E book:  'Effective Positive Parenting'.  In this E book you will discover valuable information

Effective Positive Parenting ebook

This E Book contains a treasure trove of information relating to:

  • Why children from the same family can turn out so differently from each other
  • A good foundation
  • Security
  • Independence
  • Gender Roles
  • Discipline
  • Love and Protection
  • Conformity
  • Self worth v self esteem
  • Over control protectors
  • Under control protectors

Positive Parenting Tips

Fayek Azer - Monday, January 17, 2011

Positive parenting is the process of disciplining, promoting and supporting the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development of your child. It is very important that we discipline our child in such a way that it teaches them responsibility. We can do this by motivating them internally; building their self esteem and make them feel loved and appreciated. As they grow they will not have a need to turn into drugs, gangs, sex to feel that they belong.

Spending Quality Time with Your Child
Your child’s development and self esteem is greatly affected by the quality of time you spend with them not the amount or quantity. You may be there by her side but you are not actually listening or hearing what your child is saying. You have to give your whole attention to your child and not pretending to do otherwise, or they’ll end up misbehaving.

Make Your Child Realize the Committed Mistake
We can’t avoid the fact that our children will try to test us using their tantrums, being angry or speaking to us disrespectfully. If this happens, try not to get angry or shout back, it is best if you leave or tell your child that you are just there if he wants to "try again." Remember, do not leave in anger or defeat, in this way your child will realize what he’s done and he will try to correct it.

Separate the Deed from the Doer Never tell your child that he is bad, that would surely lows down his morale. Help your child understand that it isn’t he that you don’t like but his behavior that you are not willing to tolerate. For a child to keep his self esteem, he must know that he is loved no matter what he does. Do not motivate your child by saying that you will not love him if he does something wrong. When in doubt, ask yourself: "Did my discipline affect my child in a negative way?"

Be Consistent
If you have made an agreement with your child not to buy candy when you go in the store, be consistent and never give in to hear tantrums and pleas. Be reminded also that you have to be in agreement with your partner. You have to fill in your partner in some things that you prohibit your child from doing in that way you will have a common stand. There are times that the mother will prohibit something and the father would allow. This is not a good example as the child will tend to make choices between his parents.

About Lifestyle Plus Centre

Mary together with a team of Highly Qualified Professionals specialize in a wide range of positive disciplines, including, Counseling, Clinical Hypnotherapy, Stress Management, Fitness, Health and Well-being, Life Coaching, Peak Performance Coaching, Yoga, Remedial Massage, Advanced Neuro Learning for children and even Business Leadership.

Life Style Plus Centre's Vision is to create a community where, without prejudice. we provide people with information creating an immense awareness to the resources, and wide range of positive disciplines available to them, which will support and enable them to successfully live life to their full potential